Governor Bush Files Request for Supreme Court to Save Terri Schiavo

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

Governor Bush Files Request for Supreme Court to Save Terri Schiavo Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 2, 2004

Washington, DC ( — On Wednesday, attorneys for Florida Governor Jeb Bush filed a request with the nation’s top court asking it to uphold a law passed by the state legislature that allowed Bush to prevent Terri Schiavo’s estranged husband Michael from subjecting her to a painful starvation death.

The request asks the Supreme Court to decide if Terri’s right to equal treatment under the law has been violated by state courts that overturned Terri’s Law, the measure that allowed Bush to save Terri’s life.

Bush attorney Ken Connor, former head of the Family Research Council and a pro-life advocate, says the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to get involved in the case could have a huge nationwide impact.

Connor told the Tampa Bay Tribune newspaper that the Supreme Court’s decision could affect other people with "profound cognitive disabilities" like Terri.

"The implications of the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion for persons with disabilities are ominous,” Connor and co-counsel Robert Destro wrote in the petition.

"Unless the State of Florida retains the power to protect the rights of its most vulnerable citizens to due process and equal protection of the laws, the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees will apply only to those who are capable of defending them on their own,” the Bush legal team wrote, according to the Tampa paper.

Disability rights groups have strongly supported efforts by Bush and Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to spare Terri’s life.

However, George Felos, the euthanasia advocate who is Michael’s lead attorney, said the Bush request was simply another effort to delay the case.

Felos is not sure whether he will respond to the Bush petition on Michael’s behalf.

The case is headed to the Supreme Court on appeal because the Florida Supreme Court found Bush’s invention in the case a violation of the separation of powers clause in the state constitution.

Bush also argues the Florida courts did not allow him an opportunity to present his side in oral arguments or to depose witnesses who could vouch for Terri wanting to live rather than be denied lifesaving medical treatment and rehabilitation.

In April 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a separate legal battle seeking to stop her death because she did not have an independent guardian representing her.

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