Tuesday, January 06, 2009
HOW LONG, LORD? HOW LONG???
Obama Makes Lawyer for Terri Schiavo's Husband Third-Ranking Justice Official
by Steven Ertelt
January 6, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Barack Obama has named the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to kill his disabled wife as the third highest attorney in the Justice Department. Thomas Perrelli, who won an award for representing Schiavo's former husband, had served on Obama's transition team.
The incoming president made Perrelli an associate attorney general and his appointment is generating scorn from pro-life advocates.
Perrelli provided Michael Schiavo with legal advice during his response to the Congressional bill that President Bush signed allowing the Schindler family to take their lawsuit seeking to prevent Terri’s euthanasia death from state to federal courts.
He led the legal team that developed the legal briefs for Michael opposing appeals and he ultimately received the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award in October 2006 for representing Terri’s former husband at no cost.
Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, told the Washington Times Tuesday that Obama's appointment of Perrelli is "just another death-peddler Obama has added to his list of nominees."
Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, also told the Times that any number of end-of-life issues could involve the Justice Department and having Perrelli involved would be detrimental.
"If the Justice Department isn't going to do anything about it, the states, what's to stop them from cases like Schiavo and even worse cases," he said.
On Michael’s legal team, Perrelli worked with infamous pro-euthanasia attorney George Felos as well as lawyers from the Florida chapter of the ACLU.
Obama’s selection of Perrelli as a top Justice Department attorney is no surprise given his comments on Terri’s painful 13-day starvation and dehydration death during the presidential campaign.
During his debate with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, Obama said his biggest mistake was voting with a unanimous Senate to help save Terri.
In March 2005, just weeks before Terri died, Congress approved legislation allowing her family to take its case from state courts to federal courts in an effort to stop the euthanasia from proceeding.
Terri was not on any artificial breathing apparatus and only required a feeding tube to eat and drink. Her family had filed a lawsuit against her former husband to allow them to care for her and give her proper medical and rehabilitative care.
The Senate unanimously approved a compromise bill, which the House eventually supported on a lopsided bipartisan vote and President Bush signed, to help the disabled woman.
Obama said he should have stood up against the life-saving legislation.
“It wasn't something I was comfortable with, but it was not something that I stood on the floor and stopped,” Obama said.
“And I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better,” he added.
That wasn't the first time Obama said he regretted supporting the bill to protect the disabled woman.
During an April 2007 debate, Obama said, "I think professionally the biggest mistake that I made was when I first arrived in the Senate. There was a debate about Terri Schiavo, and a lot of us, including me, left the Senate with a bill that allowed Congress to intrude where it shouldn't have.”
"And I think I should have stayed in the Senate and fought more for making sure [Terri's parents couldn't take their case to federal court to save her life]," he explained.
Since Terri’s death, the Schindler family has established a foundation to help disabled and elderly patients obtain proper medical care and legal and other assistance when they are denied it.
Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation - http://www.terrisfight.org
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