Terri Schiavo Legal Battle Heads to Florida Supreme Court

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Terri Schiavo Legal Battle Heads to Florida Supreme Court

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 2, 2004

Tampa, FL (LifeNews.com) — Over the objections of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a Florida state appeals court has sent the lawsuit over Terri’s Law to the state’s highest court. The Florida Supreme Court will hear the case filed by Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband seeking to overturn a law Bush signed that saved her life.

The Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal approved a motion put forward by George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael Schiavo’s lawyer, asking the appeals court to let the Florida Supreme Court decide the case.

But attorneys for the governor say they want the case halted while the issue of whether Michael should have the authority to speak for Terri is resolved.

"As this case progresses, we continue to stress the importance of following the procedural safeguards at each step of the process to insure the resolution is the result of a thorough and deliberate review," Bush’s office said in a statement.

Governor Bush also said that Michael’s interests may conflict with Terri’s, implying it may be appropriate to appoint a new guardian on her behalf.

But, Felos said the matter is so important that the state’s high court should decide the case.

The appeals court agreed and, in granting Felos’ request, denied the Bush team an opportunity to gather further information showing that Terri would not want to be killed.

The Florida Supreme Court can take the case or tell the appeals court to hear it and issue a ruling before deciding to hear the lawsuit.

Last August, the Florida Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal filed by Terri’s family of a local judge’s order allowing Michael to remove Terri’s feeding tube.

The one page order handed down by the court said "no basis for jurisdiction exists” in the case and no motion for reconsideration would be allowed. All seven justices signed the order.

That decision meant the 2nd District appeals court had jurisdiction over the matter and that court ruled that Circuit Judge George Greer, who initially approved the request to kill Terri, had jurisdiction.

Michael, who is living with another woman and has already had two children with her, is seeking to overturn Terri’s Law.

Approved by the state legislature and signed by Governor Bush last October, a Republican, the law allowed Bush to ask doctors to reinsert the feeding tube that is helping Terri stay alive.

Michael claims Terri, who collapsed under suspicious circumstances in 1990, would not want to stay alive. He wants to again remove the feeding tube and end her life.

But Governor Bush and Terri’s family say that’s not the case. They contend she would have wanted appropriate medical treatment and rehabilitation that has been denied to her almost the entire time since her collapse.

Meanwhile, Bush’s attorney asked the appeals court to stop the case from proceeding while Terri’s family challenges Michael’s ability to serve as her guardian.

"If he doesn’t have the authority to act, he has no right to sue the governor," Anderson told the Associated Press.

Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s family – https://www.terrisfight.org