Judge Sides With Michael Schiavo On Bush Request
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 14, 2003
TAMPA, FLORIDA--A circuit court judge on Friday rejected Governor Jeb Bush's request to throw out a lawsuit by Michael Schiavo on the grounds that the suit was not filed properly.
Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird ordered the governor's attorneys to submit a brief by this coming Monday defending the constitutionality of "Terri's Law", which gave Bush the authority to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, six days after it had been removed under court order.
Michael Schiavo's attorneys, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the suit against the governor the same day, claiming the legislature and the governor overstepped their legal bounds by passing the law which was written specifically to save Terri's life.
Bush's attorneys had asked for Mr. Schiavo's suit to be thrown out because the governor was not properly served papers in the case, and because the suit was not filed in the county where Bush lives.
Judge Baird said the governor's delays are violating Terri's right to privacy.
Bush's attorneys then filed a new round of appeals to the 2nd District Court of Appeal to reverse Baird's ruling.
Also on Friday, the governor met with Dr. Jay Wolfson, director of the Florida Health Information Center at the University of South Florida, who was appointed as an independent guardian to represent Terri's legal interests.
Bush said Wolfson asked him not to describe the conversation, but told reporters that he believed Wolfson understood everyone's concerns and was acting on Terri's behalf.
Terri Schiavo's case has been watched closely by disability rights advocates for several years. Her husband and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed from an apparent heart attack in February 1990 at age 26. The courts have supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live. A local judge ordered doctors to remove the gastronomy tube that provides Terri with food and water on October 15.
Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, believe that she is alert and responsive and that she might improve with rehabilitative therapies that Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They also suspect that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry another woman with whom he has fathered two children, and so he can benefit from what's left of an insurance settlement that now pays for her treatment.
The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. With their urging, Governor Bush championed the bill that gave him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, and to appoint an independent guardian to review her situation and provide the governor with recommendations.
"Feminists for Life is the only feminist group to object to Michael's nearly total control over his wife's destiny," wrote Rosemary Oelrich Bottcher in Thursday's National Review. "Regardless of one's opinion about what course of action is in Terri's best interest, the courts' given Michael such unfettered control ought to be a cause for concern."
"Judge says case of brain-damaged woman can proceed" (Associated Press via Bradenton Herald)
"'In Sickness'; The unfettered right to love, honor, and pull the plug" by Rosemary Oelrich Bottcher (National Review)
IDE Archives "Terri Schiavo's Right To Live"
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation