Governor Jeb Bush May Appeal Court’s Decision on Terri Schiavo’s Law

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Governor Jeb Bush May Appeal Court’s Decision on Terri Schiavo’s Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24, 2004

Tallahassee, FL ( — A day after Florida’s high court struck down a measure passed by the state legislature that would prevent Terri Schiavo from being starved to death, Governor Jeb Bush says he may appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Florida court ruled unanimously yesterday that the law violated the separation of powers clause in the state constitution and essentially allowed the state legislature to authorize Bush to overturn a lower court decision ending Terri’s life.

Bush also has 10 days to ask for a rehearing at the Florida Supreme Court — an action considered less likely because of the unanimous ruling.

However, either action could stop Terri’s estranged husband Michael from withholding Terri’s food and water, causing her to die a painful starvation death.

George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s lead attorney, confirmed that Michael will not remove Terri’s gastric tube until the Florida Supreme Court decision is finalized. That could be weeks if Bush asks for a rehearing.

Governor Bush said he disagreed with the Florida court’s decision and bemoaned court’s position against offering new evidence during the trial.

"I’m disappointed for the moral reasons of the taking of innocent life without having — I don’t think — a full hearing on the facts of what her intent was," the Associated Press reported Governor Bush saying.

Should Bush take the case to the Supreme Court, his attorneys will likely focus on the lack of due process afforded to him. Courts repeatedly refused Bush’s attorney’s requests to depose witnesses, including Michael and his live-in girlfriend Jodi Centonze.

Bush’s attorneys hoped to disabuse Michael’s contention that Terri would want to be starved to death and show that Terri would have preferred lifesaving medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Bush noted that the courts often take 20 to 25 years to wade through death penalty cases and allow for extensive depositions, hearings and testimony.

Members of Terri Schiavo’s family were disappointed but not surprised at the decision.

Robert Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s father, told that it appeared members of the state’s high court had already made up their minds before the case was presented.

"It was obvious that the Florida Supreme Court made their decision before they had oral arguments," Schindler told "I am surprised they waited 3 weeks to make it public."

Related web sites:
Florida Supreme Court Opinion –
Terri Schiavo’s parents –