Prof. Somin analyzes constitutional questions in Schiavo case

Professor Ilya Somin provided commentary on specific constitutional legal questions involved with the recent law passed allowing the Schiavo case to be heard in federal court.

Legal questions abound about legislation to keep Schiavo alive Knight Ridder Newspapers, March 20, 2005. By Stephen Henderson.

Ilya Somin, a professor at George Mason University, said he thinks Congress has "dubious policy grounds" for the law but doesn't think lawmakers went beyond the Constitution to enact the legislation. "Basically, this is about the difference between substantive and procedural rights in federal court," Somin said. "I think if they had said there was a substantive federal law that said you can't remove these feeding tubes, it would be unconstitutional. Instead, they just said her parents can file their claims in federal court, and they have to come up with a federal claim, which won't be easy."

Somin said the bill won't accomplish much, and its narrow scope is probably what squares it with the Constitution.