Governor Bush’s Attorneys Respond to Terri’s Law Lawsuit

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Governor Bush’s Attorneys Seek Dismissal of Terri’s Law Lawsuit

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL ( — Attorneys for Florida Governor Jeb Bush have issued their response to a lawsuit filed by Michael Schiavo seeking to overturn the law. Bush’s lead counsel filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit saying that it is constitutional.

Attorney Ken Connor, former president of both the Family Research Council and Florida Right to Life, is Bush’s lead attorney. He said Terri’s Law was a "necessary safeguard" to protect her rights.

"The Legislature often passes legislation in response to court decisions," Connor explained. "We don’t believe this is an infringement of any patient’s rights. We believe the law is an extra layer of protection afforded an incompetent patient unable to express her wishes."

Connor’s motion also indicated that Governor Bush was not properly served with the lawsuit. He said Schiavo’s attorneys, who have recently received legal help from the ACLU, should have filed suit in Tallahassee, the state capital, rather than in Pinellas County, where Terri is living at a hospice.

He also criticized the process the judge has set up to expedite the lawsuit. Connor said it doesn’t provide Bush’s legal team with enough time to gather evidence to make their case.

"Given the life and death nature of the issues before the Court, Mr. Schiavo’s attorneys should not be allowed to create a rush to judgment by circumventing standard legal practice," Governor Bush said in a statement.

Michael’s lead attorney George Felos, an assisted suicide advocate, called the motion "a transparent delay" and "one of the most shameful delaying tactics I’ve ever seen."

Felos claimed the lawsuit was served properly on October 21, the day Bush signed Terri’s Law into law. He said Bush’s attorneys were faxed a copy of the lawsuit and participated in an emergency conference call with the judge that night.

He also said Circuit Judge Douglas Baird can rush the process because the lawsuit regards legal rather than factual concerns.

Connor said the motion was not a stalling tactic and said it was bad judgment to rush this case through the legal process.

"There is no margin for error here," he said, concerning Terri’s life.

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