Robertson on Schiavo
John Robertson has just posted on SSRN an essay entitled Schiavo and its (In)significance. The abstract:
Florida, like most states, adopted the substituted judgment paradigm for decision making for incompetent patients first outlined in In re Quinlan. Under that approach the case appears to have been correctly decided, and should have been resolved after final review by the Florida courts. By reframing the case as one of starvation of a conscious person with a brain injury, Terri Schiavo's parents were able to generate massive public support from right-to-life and disability rights groups. This led to additional litigation and both state and national legislative attempts to overturn the results of an on-going judicial proceeding. These events demonstrate both the strengths and weaknesses of the substituted judgment paradigm, and the power of the right-to-life movement in judicial and policy decisions at the end of life.