by Steven Ertelt
March 30, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading U.S. Senator says two judges who ignored legislation passed by Congress and subpoenas issued by Congressional committees should be held accountable.
U.S. District Judge James Whittemore twice went against Congressional legislation that required halting Terri Schiavo’s painful starvation death. The measure also allowed Terri’s parents to have a complete federal hearing on the merits of their lawsuit, which Judge Whittemore also ruled against.
"For this judge in this district to ignore that is tantamount, I believe, to an offense that should be discussed in the Congress," Senator Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity in an interview Tuesday.
"What we asked for in the Congress was a new finding of fact," Santorum said. "And this judge in this district ignored it, snubbed his nose at Congress, I think against the law. I think he should be held accountable for it."
Without naming him, Santorum also criticized Circuit Court Judge George Greer for ignoring subpoenas Congress issued seeking to question Terri, her estranged husband Michael and hospice administrators.
The subpoenas were issued in an attempt to stall removing Terri’s feeding tube, but Greer overruled them and reissued his order authorizing Terri’s death.
On Fox News Channel’s "Hannity and Colmes" program, Santorum said he has talked with members of Congress about looking into the judge’s actions.
"[W]e cannot continue to expect that the laws that we pass and the intentions are clear, that are just simply ignored by the judges and have their nose, basically thumb their noses at us," Santorum said. "And here is a situation where the intent of Congress was clear."
Santorum said members of Congress returned to Washington "for one reason, so the feeding tube could be reconnected and a trial, a new trial with new evidence, could be presented. For this judge in this district to ignore that is tantamount, I believe, to an offense that should be discussed in the Congress."
Meanwhile, the chairman of Florida’s House Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday that he will consider beginning an impeachment investigation into Judge Greer’s ruling.
Rep. David Simmons, a Republican, says he has received numerous calls and emails about an investigation and also received an Internet petition with 30,000 signatures.
According to an Empire Journal report, Simmons said “we will look at it and analyze it” but said he wasn’t “committing to do anything other than review what any constituent tells me as a representative and as chairman of the Judiciary Committee to look at”.
Earlier, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said he would pursue contempt charges against Greer for ignoring Congressional subpoenas.
"The Congress will pursue this, if we have to hold him in contempt of Congress," DeLay told radio talk show host Sean Hannity.
"We will do everything to enforce the power and authority of the Congress and no little judge sitting in a state district court in Florida is going to usurp the authority of Congress," DeLay added.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, echoed DeLay’s concerns.
"Federal criminal law protects witnesses called before official Congressional committee proceedings from anyone who may obstruct or impede a witness’ attendance or testimony," Frist explained.
"Anyone who violates this law is subject to criminal fines and imprisonment," Frist said.
Related news stories:
Terri Schiavo Case Reveals How We Treated Disabled Americans
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org