Florida Governor Appeals Court’s Decision Overturning Terri Schiavo’s Law

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Governor Appeals Court’s Decision Overturning Terri Schiavo’s Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 4, 2004

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Florida Governor Jeb Bush has directed his attorneys to ask the state’s high court to reexamine its decision overturning Terri’s Law, the provision that authorized Bush to ask doctors to reinsert Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. The move prevented her painful death from starvation.

In a unanimous 7-0 ruling two weeks ago, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the law violated the separation of powers clause in the state constitution by essentially allowing Governor Bush to overturn a lower court’s decision allowing Terri’s estranged husband Michael to end her life.

In a statement released by his office, Governor Bush said he respected the "role and the judgment of the Florida Supreme Court," but worried the decision would limit the ability of the Florida legislature to pass laws.

The court’s decisions "have long-term, far-reaching consequences for all Floridians," Bush said. "For this reason, we have asked the court for clarification of its recent ruling."

One reason for the request has to do with Bush’s legal team’s inability to gather new evidence. The Florida high court prevented Bush attorneys from deposing witnesses to show that Terri would have wanted lifesaving medical treatment and rehabilitation rather than be killed via euthanasia.

Bush also said the separation of powers argument goes both ways and indicated that the state’s high court trumped the views of the executive and legislative branches.

Bush’s request could stop Terri’s estranged husband Michael from withholding Terri’s food and water, causing her to die.

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 or months with Bush’s request for a rehearing.

Bush’s attorneys were also considering taking the case to the Supreme Court, an action that may still be possible after the Florida Supreme Court reexamines its decision.

Members of Terri Schiavo’s family were disappointed by the Florida court’s decision last month.

Robert Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s father, told LifeNews.com 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 LifeNews.com. "I am surprised they waited three weeks to make it public."

Related web sites:
Florida Supreme Court Opinion –
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org