Governor Bush: I Can’t Overturn Judge’s Decision on Terri

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 16, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Governor Bush: I Can’t Overturn Judge’s Decision on Terri

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 16, 2003

Clearwater, FL ( — Governor Bush said Thursday afternoon that his legal team has looked and found no way that he can overturn a judge’s decision to remove the feeding tube that was helping Terri Schiavo stay alive.

Bush said he was concerned about Terri’s life but says he doesn’t have the legal power to contradict the judge’s decision, which has been upheld in rulings by other courts. As governor, he said he pledged to uphold Florida law, not overturn it.

"We have to be respectful of the judiciary," Governor Bush said. "I can be critical. I can express my opinions, as I’ve done. But … when I was elected, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the law."

Meanwhile, an attorney who was one of the initial prosecutors of assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian says Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) has the legal authority to intervene to help Terri Schiavo.

Attorney Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center, a pro-life legal firm, sent a letter to Governor Bush Thursday morning saying Bush should conduct a formal investigation into Terri’s situation.

"It is clear that there is sufficient evidence upon which to conduct a formal criminal investigation," Thompson writes.

Thompson and other attorneys allege that Michael Schiavo could be investigated as well because of a conflict of interest and for possible physical abuse to Terri prior to her heart attack.

George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo, plans an afternoon news conference to respond to the letter by Thompson and other pro-life attorneys who have said Bush has the authority to investigate.

After a 20-minute meeting with Terri’s parents Bob and Mary Schindler on Wednesday, Bush promised to ask his legal staff to find any method for him to intervene to help Terri.

State courts have affirmed Michael Schiavo’s right to end Terri’s life, and both the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts have refused to hear the case.

Protesters supporting Terri’s right to live attended the event.

Related web sites:
Letter 1 from law firm to Bush

Letter 2 from law firm to Bush