News of the Day ... in Perspective7/15/2004
National disability groups file in Bush v. Schiavo
Seventeen groups that advocate for disabled persons filed an amicus brief urging the Florida State Supreme Court to reverse the lower court and uphold the right of disabled persons not to be deprived of food, water, and rehabilitation. The case was sparked by “Terri’s Law,” which enabled Governor Jeb Bush to intervene and order the reinsertion of Terri Schindler Schiavo’s feeding tube.
Mrs. Schiavo’s husband and court-appointed guardian Michael Schiavo has been trying to bring about her death through dehydration. Her parents assert that she is not in a persistent vegetative state and has demonstrated a strong will to live. They believe that she would be able to swallow food if permitted to receive the rehabilitation that her husband has blocked.
Amici say that the standards applied in the Schiavo case could affect thousands of severely disabled people. They believe that courts and other third parties should not be basing life-or-death decisions on their own view of the affected person’s quality of life.
Other developments in this case:
The Second District Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird that disallowed Terri’s parents to intervene in the lawsuit. Judge Baird held that her parents were not directly affected by the outcome of the case. The American Center for Law and Justice asked for a review of Baird’s decision, stating that the Schindlers had a constitutional due process right to be heard.
Judge George Greer dismissed a motion by the Schindlers to require Michael Schiavo to demonstrate that he has complied with court orders regarding Terri’s care. He has, for example, allegedly failed to file the mandatory annual care plan since 1990. The Schindlers’ 2002 motion to remove Mr. Schiavo as guardian is still unresolved.
Judge George Greer consistently rules against the Schindlers and issues findings of fact directly contradicting the sworn testimony of physicians and nursess. According to Ron Panzer of the Hospice Patients Alliance, Judge Greer should recuse himself because of connections with Michael Schiavo’s pro-euthanasia attorney George Felos.
Gov. Bush’s amicus brief: http://zimp.org/documents/bush070604.pdf
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