For an issue that I regard as entirely spurious, the Schiavo case certainly has generated a remarkable amount of clear and forceful writing. Some examples:
1. Kevin Keith at Lean Left has two excellent expositions of the facts and issues in the Schiavo case and the broader questions surrounding termination of care as reflected in the Texas Futile Care law. He argues that medical futility laws such as the one Gov. Bush signed are reasonable, and that the principle behind such laws is fundamentally inconsistent with the law Pres. Bush signed to interfere in the Schiavo case.
Like Tom Mayo of HealthLawProf, Keith is more willing than think I would be to allow the termination of care against the wishes of the patient or the patient’s representative, but both of them have clearly spent two or three orders of magnitude more time than I have thinking about this, so I’m tempted to defer to them. Still, though I acknowledge both the resource issue and the likelihood of emotionally-driven mistakes in decisions by patients and (especially) their families, the notion of someone having the plug pulled against his currently expressed wishes doesn’t sit well. Autonomy is an important principle, and it’s worth some suffering and resource sacrifice to avoid violating it.
3. And Dahlia Lithwick simply goes off — there’s no other term to describe it — on the save-Terri crew. Remind me never to get on Lithwick’s bad side; her prose, like a Samurai sword, is a thing of beauty as long as it’s not pointed at you.
And Abstract Appeal a Florida-based law blog, has what seems to be an impartial resume of the documents in the Schiavo case. I can’t vouch for it personally other than to say the tone seems reasonable, but I point it out to those hungry for information.