Monday, March 28, 2005

The qualities of mercy and practicality

The opinion of Judge Charles Wilson of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Terri's case is worth reading. He dissented from the majority opinion that refused to grant Terri relief by having her feeding tube put back. Toward the beginning of his statement Justice Wilson said:

In considering this extraordinary case, I am mindful that “[t]he essence of
equity jurisdiction has been the power of the Chancellor to do equity and to mould
each decree to the necessities of the particular case. Flexibility rather than rigidity
has distinguished it. The qualities of mercy and practicality have made equity the
instrument for nice adjustment and reconciliation between the public interest and
private needs as well as between competing private claims.” Swann v. Charlotte-
Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 1, 15 (1971) (citations omitted). Keeping those principles firmly in mind, “mercy and practicality” compel us to grant the
relief requested.

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