Judges Baird And Greer Refuse To Step Aside On Schiavo
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 21, 2003
TAMPA, FLORIDA--Two Pinellas Circuit Court judges on Friday refused to step aside in cases regarding Terri Schiavo's right to live.
Governor Jeb Bush asked the 2nd District Court of Appeal to disqualify Judge W. Douglas Baird in the suit filed against the governor by Michael Schiavo over the constitutionality of "Terri's Law". Mr. Schiavo, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, are trying to get the law thrown out that gave Bush the authority to have Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, six days after it had been taken out under a court order.
Last week, Judge Baird commented that the law violated Terri's privacy rights and the Florida state Constitution's separation of powers provisions. Bush wants Baird removed from the case because of his "own personal biases and prejudices". Bush's appeal came after Baird refused to disqualify himself Friday.
In a related case on the same day, Judge George W. Greer denied a request by Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to step aside in their suit to have their son-in-law removed as their daughter's guardian. Greer has repeatedly sided with Michael Schiavo in his rulings, including the order in mid-October that removed the gastronomy tube which provides Terri with food and water. The Schindlers claim that Greer, too, is biased in that case.
Disability rights advocates have been watching Terri's legal battle 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 and was without oxygen for several minutes. 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 "by artificial means".
Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve with rehabilitative therapies which Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They claim 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. They want him removed as Terri's guardian and investigated for abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
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, the governor 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.
"It's Not Only About Terri Schiavo" by Nat Hentoff (The Village Voice)
"Kerry refuses to criticize Bush on Schiavo decision" (Miami Herald)
IDE Archives "Terri Schiavo's Right To Live"
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation