A surprisingly good ruling from the Federal Judge appointed to hear the Schiavo case’s most recent attempt to migrate away from the world of judicial precedent and common sense. Of course the case is now being appealed to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, but this ruling gives me some hope that the whole ugly mess may wind down soon.
This Court concurs with Judge Lazzara’s previous decisionsholding that the Court has no jurisdiction to review Petitioners’ claims under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine provides that “a party losing in state court is barred from seeking what in substance would be appellate review of the state judgment in a United States District Court based on the losing party’s claim that the state judgment itself violates the loser’s federal rights.” The Rooker-Feldman doctrine not only bars review of issues that were adjudicated by the state court, but it also prohibits federal courts from reviewing issues that are “inextricably intertwined” with the state court’s judgment.
Petitioners have previously litigated their claims in state court and now, in effect, seek a review of various state courts’ decisions involving Mrs. Schiavo. But this Court is not an appellate court for state courts’ decisions. Moreover, Petitioners cannot escape the fact that their claims are “inextricably intertwined” with the numerous state courts’ decisions involving Mrs. Schiavo. As Judge Altenbernd observed, “[n]ot only has Mrs. Schiavo’s case been given due process [in state court], but few, if any, similar cases have ever been afforded this heightened level of process.” The fact that Petitioners have exhausted their state court appellate options without success does not provide this Court with jurisdiction over this matter. Therefore, the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is denied.
I suppose it’s because I like to try and understand the philosophies behind good governance, or because I stayed awake too long reading John Adams’ biography , but I can’t help but look at this and feel like there are big precedents being jostled, here. Congress seems to think that by virtue of being elected, the legislative branch gets to decide everything, even if one of the other two branches has the audacity to disagree. Whatever happened to checks and balances, folks?