Fred Thompson Strays Into Terri Schiavo Case Territory

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Fred Thompson, presidential candidate, strayed into the Terri Schiavo case in Florida on Thursday, where he suggested Congress overstepped its bounds by involving itself in the Terri Schiavo case.

Coverage of his remarks, made to a local cable television station, prompted his campaign to request a correction from at least one media outlet as to how its reports characterized his response. And it prompted some political observers to note that Thompson, a former actor who played District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC’s “Law & Order,” prosecuted a similar, fictional, version of the Schiavo case in that television drama.

Thompson directly refrained from sharing his opinion on the issue, which pitted Schiavo’s husband Michael, who wanted to remove the feeding tube of his long brain-dead wife, against her parents, brother, and many religious conservatives, who insisted despite the overwhelming medical evidence that she had some cognition. Florida courts repeatedly sided with Michael Schiavo, but the case exploded to become a national obsession and Congress intervened in March 2005 to prevent her tube from being removed. Ultimately federal courts refused to intervene and Schiavo died on March 31, 2005.

“Local matters, generally speaking, should be left to the locals,” Thompson said Thursday in what seemed a gentle way of suggesting Congress over-stepped its bounds. “I think Congress has got an awful lot to keep up with.”