Florida's executive branch, as well as its legislative one, is obligated to not only protect individual rights but curtail judicial abuses.
eparation of powers and the other constitutional principle of checks and balances, makes the Office of Governor immune from any contempt-of-court threat by the judiciary. The legislature may impeach him or the people themselves recall him or vote him out of office. The usurpatious judiciary, in the meantime, can just go jump itself.
Alan Keye's essay points out how, in cases of judicial abuse, it is the executive authority who must use his constitutional power to intervene and face those constitutional consequences, if any, of using that power:
- If, as chief executive of Florida, Jeb Bush believes that starving Terri Schiavo to death is a violation of her right to life, then to defend her life, as recognized in the Florida constitution (Article I, Section 2), he has the same obligation to defend constitutional right as he would in the [case of a court-sanctioned] lynching....
Unlike the Legislature, he would not act in order to overturn or reverse the action of the judiciary, but in order positively to fulfill his obligation as chief executive, by preventing the destruction of a citizen's most basic constitutional right. * * *
When time is of the essence, necessity authorizes the executive to safeguard the security of the constitution before citizens and the polity suffer irreversible damage.
Terri Schiavo's survival depends on Gov. Bush's faithful execution of this responsibility, and the survival of American self-government on the willingness of all those in a like position to faithfully execute the duties of their high office.
In times like these, calculating politicians are not good enough. Enlightened statesmen are needed at the helm. God help us if we do not soon choose to find them there.
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