Bush Attorneys Say Terri Schiavo Deserves Her Day in Court

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

Bush Attorneys Say Terri Schiavo Deserves Her Day in Court

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 9, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Attorneys for Governor Jeb Bush say that Terri Schiavo deserves her day in court and that Florida’s high court shouldn’t make a decision to end her life based on the claims made by her estranged husband about the kind of medical care she would supposedly want.

In a brief filed Friday, Bush’s attorneys wrote, Michael Schiavo’s "contention that Terri would want to refuse food and fluids, is crucial because it is the very question the Governor has been repeatedly precluded from investigating in this case."

"Clearly, Schiavo seeks to have this Court accept his incompetent, extra-record allegations as fact, while depriving the Governor of the opportunity to rebut the extra-record claims and prove or disprove the truth of his claims," the brief explains.

On August 31, the Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case to determine whether or not Terri’s Law, which allowed Governor Bush to ask doctors to prevent Terri from being starved to death, should be overturned.

Last month, George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s attorney, wrote in his brief to the state’s high court that Terri "has been stripped of her most intimate rights."

Felos claims Terri would have wanted to die and says Bush, by allowing her to live, violated the separation of powers clause since Florida courts had already ruled Terri should die.

Felos says Bush is "force-feeding Terri against her will."

But attorneys for Governor Bush say they were denied the opportunity in lower courts to prove that Terri would have wanted to remain alive and receive both lifesaving medical treatment as well as rehabilitative care to improve her condition.

"The Governor has procedural and substantive due process rights guaranteed under both state and federal law," the brief says. "These rights include the right to discovery, the
right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to a jury trial or an evidentiary
hearing with respect to factual matters."

Bush’s attorneys conclude that Michael doesn’t want Bush to find out more about what Terri would have wanted because he is bent on ending her life.

"This Court should recall Schiavo’s argument that even if a ‘hundred juries’ determined that Terri Schiavo wanted to be provided food and water under the present circumstances, such judgments would be constitutionally irrelevant," the brief says.

"This is an astounding admission and certainly leads to the inference that Schiavo’s opposition to a valid fact-finding process which adheres to the requirements of due process is rooted in a fear that such a process may very likely reveal that Terri’s wishes differ from his own."

Prevented from becoming a party in the lawsuit, the parents of Terri Schiavo filed a friend-of-the-court brief earlier this month in the case defending Terri’s Law.

Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird prohibited Bob and Mary Schindler, Terri’s parents, from joining the case. He claimed the law wouldn’t affect them, despite their relationship with their daughter.

Related web sites:
Bush brief on Terri’s Law –
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org