Michael Schiavo Files Motion to Overturn Stay in Terri’s Law Case

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 12, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Michael Schiavo Files Motion to Overturn Stay in Terri’s Law Case

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 12, 2003

Pinellas Park, FL (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys for Michael Schiavo fired the next shot in the battle over the constitutionality of Terri’s Law. On Wednesday afternoon they asked Circuit Judge Douglas Baird to deny a stay while appeals courts consider a motion by Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) to dismiss the lawsuit on technical grounds.

Bush had asked Baird last week to dismiss Michael’s lawsuit saying that it wasn’t served to Bush personally and wasn’t filed in courts in Tallahassee, where the law was passed and the executive order saving Terri issued.

Michael is seeking to overturn the law and remove Terri’s feeding tube for a third time.

Baird denied the motion and Bush appealed, triggering an automatic stay in Michael’s lawsuit until Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeals hears the appeal.

Attorneys for Michael, Terri’s estranged husband, said on Wednesday that Bush is engaging in delaying tactics to stall the suit.

Bush’s appeal "is simply the latest in his efforts to delay consideration of the merits of the case," Michael’s motion said. "The governor has shown that he will take advantage of every tactic in the book to postpone this case from being heard and tie it in procedural knots."

A representative of Governor Bush said the motions are not an attempt to delay the case.

Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre said, "The governor is committed to upholding the state constitution and to protecting all Florida citizens’ rights to life, especially those who are the most vulnerable."

Baird did not schedule a hearing on Michael’s motion, which was filed by attorney George Felos, an assisted suicide advocate. The ACLU recently joined Michael’s legal team and is helping Felos.

Speaker of the House Johnnie Byrd on Monday filed an amicus brief to defend Terri’s Law. It argues that the state legislature has the constitutional ability to pass or change laws, even if they differ from rulings made by the courts.

Florida courts have repeatedly affirmed Michael’s decision, as Terri’s guardian, to end her life — despite evidence from numerous doctors that Terri has a chance to recover if given proper medical treatment and rehabilitative care.

Byrd’s brief argues that "the legislature’s role in establishing public policy is paramount and its role in regulating the actions of the other branches is significant." Byrd says the judiciary should "decide disputes under the law" rather than making it.

Patricia Anderson, attorney for the Schindler family, said "This case is not about some abstract constitutional theory. Terri Schiavo’s life hangs in the balance. We are pleased that Governor Bush is making every effort to ensure that Terri’s Law is defended."

Related web sites:
House Speaker Byrd’s legal brief –

Terri’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org