Palm Sunday Compromise
President Bush and Congressional Republicans anticipated Greer's adverse ruling well before it was delivered and worked on a daily basis to find an alternative means of overturning the legal process by utilizing the authority of the United States Congress. On March 20, 2005, the Senate, by unanimous consent, passed their version of a relief bill; since the vote was taken by voice vote, there was no official tally of those voting in favor and those opposed. Soon after Senate approval, the House of Representatives passed an identical version of the bill S.686, which came to be called the "Palm Sunday Compromise" and transferred jurisdiction of the Schiavo case to the federal courts. The bill passed the House on March 21, 2005 at 12:41 a.m. (UTC-5). U.S. President George W. Bush flew to Washington, D.C. from his vacation in Texas in order to sign the bill into law at 1:11 a.m.
While the bill had been proposed by Republican Senators Rick Santorum and Mel Martinez, it also had the support of Democratic Senator Tom Harkin due to disability rights concerns in the Schiavo case. Harkin had worked with disability rights groups for years and co-authored the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. American disability rights groups traditionally tend to ally themselves with Democrats and the political left, however, in the Schiavo case they joined pro-life organizations in opposing the removal of her feeding tube and supporting the Palm Sunday Compromise. According to Marilyn Golden, Harkin's support was necessary for passage of the bill, as any voice opposition by Democrats would have delayed it.
As in the state courts, all of the Schindlers' federal petitions and appeals were denied, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari, effectively ending the Schindlers' judicial options. At the same time, the so-called Schiavo memo surfaced, causing a political firestorm. The memo was written by Brian Darling, the legal counsel to Florida Republican senator Mel Martinez. It suggested the Schiavo case offered "a great political issue" that would appeal to the party's base (core supporters) and could be used against Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, because he had refused to co-sponsor the bill. Nelson easily won re-election in 2006.
Read more about this topic: Selected Court Cases In The Terri Schiavo Case, Final Feeding Tube Removal and Federal Involvement
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