Andrew McCarthy pens an interesting piece over at NRO about proposals to grant federal review in cases like that of Terri Schiavo. I commend the article to lawyers and non-lawyers alike for its clear description of how the often misunderstood federal habeas process works, and how that process changed in 1996 due to a new law enacted by the Clinton Administration. However, McCarthy was less clear about what the proposed legislation pending in Congress would do. Rather than grant habeas review--a position endorsed by some early bills (and a position which was legally erroneous given that Ms. Schiavo is not in state custody)--the version of the bill which was passed by the House permitted removal of an action to federal court where there were issues of constitutional or federal law at stake following the exhaustion of state court proceedings. Essentially, it permits a federal court to review federal questions after the state court system has completed its review. This is not the kind of serious infringement on federalism that the WaPo editorial suggests (even if the state courts are fully constitutionally capable of adjudicating federal and constitutional issues). There are interesting federalism questions to be asked of any such legislation, but the overblown comparisons made by WaPo are not among them.