updated 3/25/2005 2:47:33 PM ET 2005-03-25T19:47:33

Guest: Rick MacArthur, Alan Keyes, Brian Schiavo, Randall Terry, Alan Dershowitz, Geoffrey Fieger, Brandi Swindell, Raquel Rodriguez

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, Terri Schiavo, starving to death by judicial decree.  We are going to bring you the latest breaking news. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required and only common sense allowed. 

The United States Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court and a Florida judge effectively signed a death warrant for Terri Schiavo today.  But, at this very moment, a federal judge in Florida is considering the family‘s last desperate plea, while the courthouse was rocked by a bomb threat.  What can Governor Jeb Bush do now to save her life?  We are going to be talking to the governor‘s top attorney. 

And why is Michael Schiavo so intent on ending his wife‘s life?  We are going to get the inside story from his brother, Brian. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome to the show. 

You know, just minutes ago, a hearing ended at the courthouse in Florida, a federal courthouse.  It may be the last best hope for Terri Schiavo‘s parents to save her daughter‘s life.  We are waiting the judge‘s decision right now, and it can come at any moment. 

Terri Schiavo is now in her seventh day without food or water, the longest she has ever gone without nourishment. 

Kristin Dahlgren is in front of the hospice in Pinellas Park, and she‘s been following all of today‘s tumultuous developments. 

Kristin, what is the very latest? 

KRISTIN DAHLGREN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi there, Joe. 

Yes, this is still being fought on several levels here, even with legal options running out.  Now, the Florida Supreme Court refused to overturn the judge‘s order, blocking the state from taking custody of Terri.  But, as you said, a federal court has just adjourned, federal Judge James Whittemore.  This is the judge that heard and rejected the parents‘ plea earlier this week, now said that he will review and release his ruling on the court‘s Web site.

So we are still waiting for any word on that.  You will recall that, last time he released it very early in the morning, so we will be waiting for that at some point.  Even with this federal court hearing ruling possibly coming, the parents hoping that it goes their way, supporters here still think that Florida Governor Jeb Bush is their last, best hope, and here‘s Governor Bush had to say today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JEB BUSH ®, FLORIDA:  We have done everything that we can, and we will continue to do so, within the powers that I have. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAHLGREN:  Now, attorneys for Michael Schiavo obviously feel very differently.  They argue that Terri never wanted to live like this, that the courts have made their decision, that Terri should be able to die in peace, and that there is nothing else that can be done. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE FELOS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL SCHIAVO:  The only way I can contemplate Governor Bush or state officials taking Terri Schiavo from hospice is if they kidnap her. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAHLGREN:  Now, supporters from here are headed to Tallahassee.  They think that there is something that Governor Jeb Bush did do, and they are hopeful that they will stand outside the governor‘s mansion tomorrow until the governor does step in. 

That‘s the latest.  Live in Pinellas Park, Florida, I‘m Kristin Dahlgren—Joe, back to you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot, Kristin.

Now, just before we came on the air tonight, the Florida Supreme Court refused to overturn a judge‘s order blocking the state from taking temporary custody of Terri Schiavo.  Earlier, Governor Jeb Bush said he would not do anything to go against the ruling of the court.

And with me now is Raquel Rodriguez.  She‘s Governor Bush‘s general counsel. 

Raqui (ph), is that it?  Is there nothing else that Governor Jeb Bush can do to stop Terri Schiavo from starving to death? 

RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ, GENERAL COUNSEL, FLORIDA GOVERNOR‘S OFFICE:  Well, good evening, Joe. 

We are here today because the governor has done a lot already to save Terri Schiavo.  You will remember that, in 2003, it was his executive order that saved Terri Schiavo‘s life and gave her and her parents another year and a half through now.  And he has been tenacious.  He has been persistent.  He has been compassionate.  He has directed his staff and his team to exhaust every legal remedy.

And, as we speak here tonight, there are lawyers toiling away, working at every avenue, looking for every opportunity. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is there any opportunity out there, anything you see at all right now?  Are the lawyers still—are they going to be working on that throughout the night? 

RODRIGUEZ:  They will are be working tonight, tomorrow.  We still have appeals going at the district court and Supreme Court level, or the district court primarily.  Just because the stay was denied, as long as Terri is alive, the governor is not going to give up hope.  He will continue to pursue every available legal remedy that he has. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s get personal for a second.  Talk about Governor Jeb Bush.  What are his emotions like tonight as he is fighting to try to save Terri Schiavo‘s life? 

RODRIGUEZ:  Well, Joe, the governor is a very compassionate man, and I know that he feels a huge amount of compassion and concern for Terri and her family. 

He is obviously disappointed at the rulings today and of the last few days, but he is also a man of faith.  He is a man of conviction, and he is a persistent, persistent fighter.  And although he knows that options are dwindling and time is running short, he has not given up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Raqui Rodriguez.  We greatly appreciate you being here tonight to fill us in on what‘s going on.

And, obviously, we have heard, the governor, his lawyers, their staff are going to be working through the night to try to find some solution to save Terri Schiavo‘s life, right now, seven days without food, without water.  And, of course, since well—well before they removed Terri‘s feeding tube nearly a week ago, protesters have been keeping vigil.  And there have been some arrests, and other people are on hunger strikes, like our next guest, Brandi Swindell. 

She has been protesting all week. 

And, Brandi, why are you on a hunger strike right now? 

BRANDI SWINDELL, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, GENERATION LIFE:  Well, I‘m on a hunger strike right now to stand with Terri Schiavo.  It‘s a way that I can identify with her and stand in solidarity.  It‘s absolutely barbaric that we have a woman who is being starved to death, and she‘s dying of thirst, right now as we speak, because of a ruling by a state judge and because of Michael Schiavo, her husband, turning his back on her.

And it‘s unbelievable to see that this is happening in our nation, with a woman who is not terminally ill.  She is not hooked up on artificial life support.  She was not dying, and now she is because she is being starved to death and not given any water. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the surprising thing is—and you mention it

·         to me, the thing that is most shocking is that we have a judicial system where you have got a state court judge, a single state court judge, elected by a couple of thousand votes, deciding to accept the testimony of one interested witness. 

SWINDELL:  It‘s absolutely...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hearsay—hearsay evidence, which we now hear the United States Supreme Court, all other courts in the land say, we can‘t do anything about it.  What does that say to you about the state of America right now? 

SWINDELL:  It terrifies me.  I am absolutely terrified to see that we have a state judge ignoring what the president of the United States says, what the House says, what the Department of Justice says, what Protective Services in Florida says, what the governor says.  It‘s absolutely horrifying.

And you know, we have to look at history.  If you look at segregation, you see that the courts ruled that segregation was fine, and it took the executive branch having to intervene.  It took the president having to intervene.  And so, right now, we need Governor Jeb Bush to continue to do what he is doing.  He has done a lot for Terri, and right now, Terri Schiavo needs the governor more than ever, because the courts have turned their back on Terri. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you all have moved.  A lot of you have moved from Pinellas County.  You‘re up in Tallahassee right now.  Why is that? 

SWINDELL:  We are in Tallahassee.  We have a group of about 30 that are going to start a 12-hour prayer vigil tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m.  It‘s Good Friday tomorrow.  It‘s a very holy day.  And we are going to be in front of the governor‘s mansion praying and pleading for Terri‘s life. 

We want to have a strong presence.  As you said, I am wearing a black armband that signifies the hunger strike.  There‘s going to be others out there doing the same thing.  And we are going to be pleading and encouraging and challenging Governor Jeb Bush to do whatever he can.  He can pardon criminals.  Surely, he can help a woman who is dying of thirst on Good Friday. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Brandi Swindell, thank you so much for being with us.  We will be back with you tomorrow night to get an update on the protests. 

Terri Schiavo‘s parents are running out of legal options.  In the past few days, every court they have been to has rejected their pleas to keep their daughter alive.  Is there anything else they can do? 

Let‘s bring in Geoffrey Fieger.  He‘s an attorney who obviously represented Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who has been in prison since 1999 for his role in multiple assisted suicides.

Geoffrey, it‘s end of the line, isn‘t it, not only for Terri Schiavo, but also for her attorneys.

GEOFFREY FIEGER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, yes, and as well it should be. 

Frankly, if I engaged in that kind of conduct with any other case, I would probably be sanctioned by the courts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What kind of conduct? 

FIEGER:  Well, continually going into courts with virtually no new arguments and simply trying to undo a court order. 

By the way, your last guest was wrong when she said that the executive and legislative branch tried to end segregation in the courts.  Didn‘t.  It was exactly the opposite.  It was Brown, the famous Brown decision.

SCARBOROUGH:  Brown v. Board of Education, exactly.  Let me ask you this, though, Geoffrey, though.

FIEGER:  And the courts ended segregation, not the legislature and not the governor. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  We can debate history later on.  I think you are right. 

But let me ask you this question.  In the state of Florida and across America, there are laws that protect dogs from being starved. 

FIEGER:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I would like to know, if we have laws saying, if you starve a dog, you are committing a felony, why don‘t we afford Terri the same protection? 

FIEGER:  Well, first of all, let me just say that she is on life support.  The provision...

SCARBOROUGH:  The feeding tube. 

FIEGER:  The feeding tube is life support.  But in this way...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A respirator is life support. 

FIEGER:  That‘s right.  You will be surprised.  I agree with you, and I will tell you why. 

The guy I represented—and I didn‘t always agree with all of his methods—but he said, when somebody made a decision to end their life, why wouldn‘t they do it painlessly, simply with an injection?  Why would you do it through the removal of a respirator and suffocate or the removal of a feeding tube?  And right to life at that point came in and said, oh, no, that‘s the natural way.  That‘s life‘s processes, so you have to do it that way, rather than give them an injection. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no, but not in this case, though, Geoffrey, because you...

FIEGER:  Wait a second.  Oh, yes.  Oh, yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We are depending on hearsay evidence of one very interested witness who moved on, has a new wife, common law wife, has two kids, and you are sitting here telling me that we should inject her and kill her tonight because of hearsay evidence before one Florida judge.

FIEGER:  No.  No.

You asked me, first of all, Joe—and I enjoy this discussion—but you asked me, first of all, how did we get to that point?  I am trying to tell you that we got to that point because the religious right believed that it was wrong what Kevorkian was doing, but said removing life support was OK, so that starvation was OK. 

I made an argument for 10 years.  I said, that‘s craziness.  Why would we want to do that?  And the right said and the religious people said, oh, no, that‘s God‘s way.  Then God is doing it, and you are not doing it. 

Now, with Terri Schiavo, they have taken exactly the opposite tack.  With regard to the judge, I don‘t agree with you.  The evidence was overwhelming.  And it isn‘t simply her husband.  Her husband did testify with regard to that, but there was no evidence to the contrary.  In fact, the evidence in this case is that she is brain-dead. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what you are saying—and, Geoffrey, stand by, because we will be talking a lot more.

But, if I understand you, you are trying to say that the parents would have the duty to come in and prove a negative.  You and I both know much harder to prove negative in a court of law. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Instead, we have got a state court judge relying on the hearsay of one interested witness.

FIEGER:  But...

SCARBOROUGH:  And Terri Schiavo is dying tonight because of it. 

FIEGER:  But you are portraying—but you are portraying, her...

SCARBOROUGH:  Geoffrey.

FIEGER:  Joe, she has got a flat EEG, a flat—there‘s no electrical activity in her brain. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got to go to a break.  I will get back with you, Geoffrey. 

FIEGER:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  I disagree with you.

You know, and, again, it‘s medical testimony.  We will be talking more about this.

And, also, we‘re going to have Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz when we return in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Plus, we are also going to be having the brother of Michael Schiavo talking to us, why his brother believes it‘s time for Terri to die. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Another heartbreaking day in court for Terri Schiavo‘s family, as they fight to keep their daughter alive.  I‘m going to be talking to somebody close to the family, Randall Terry, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  You are looking at a live picture now outside Terri Schiavo‘s hospice center, live from Pinellas Park, Florida. 

Back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, it has been a trying day for the Schindler family.

And Randall Terry has been down there.

Now, Randall, the family says that they can visibly see Terri deteriorating.  Does this family understand tonight, with the court‘s rejecting their pleas, that their daughter is going to die? 

RANDALL TERRY, SPOKESMAN FOR PARENTS OF TERRI SCHIAVO:  Absolutely not.  Absolutely not. 

They went back in federal court today, and it was a lengthy hearing, as it should have been.  There was new evidence presented which is not in any of the old record.

SCARBOROUGH:  What new evidence? 

(CROSSTALK)

TERRY:  There was the affidavit from the doctor at the Mayo Clinic, the neurologist who went in and saw Terri within the past 10 days, as well as studied all the tapes from the original court proceedings, and says that, in his opinion, she has been misdiagnosed. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Randall, this judge has said in Tampa—the Florida judge has said he is not going to look at facts, basically.  He is going to look at the law and, absent an abuse of discretion by Judge Greer, he is not going to touch this case. 

TERRY:  No, no, no, we are not talking about Judge Greer.  They just got out of federal court again. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I understand.  I understand that, Randall, but this federal judge, like the 11th Circuit, like the U.S. Supreme Court, all seemed to defer to the single lone Florida judge. 

TERRY:  I know.  It‘s horrifying. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Judge Greer.  So why aren‘t they going to do that again?

(CROSSTALK)

TERRY:  I know. 

We are still—Joe, here‘s the bottom line.  We are focusing on Governor Jeb Bush.  And contrary to what some people are saying, if people want to see five different memorandums of law presented to the governor which show him the constitutional and statutory authority he has to intervene, go to—they are posted at ChristianWireService.com.  And you‘re an attorney.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you want him to do?  Do you want them to kick down the hospice door in an Elian Gonzalez-style raid to save her life? 

TERRY:  They don‘t have to do that.  They don‘t have to do that. 

He is the governor of the state.  Come on.  He can take her into custody with DCF agents and with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  He can go in there and he can take her to a hospital, which he was going to do last night.  And they lost their nerve when Judge Greer issued this order.  This is such a violent, vulgar violation of the separation of powers that it‘s mind-boggling. 

And what is so sad is that Judge Greer is showing more courage to kill Terri than people in this state government are showing to save her.  So, if people want to read those memorandum, go to ChristianWireService.com, all five memorandum from five different legal scholars showing the authority under which Bush could act. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Randall, thank you.  We appreciate you being with us. 

Now let me bring in Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.  He‘s also the author of “Rights from Wrongs: The Origins of Human Rights in the Experience of Injustice.”

Thank you for being with us, Professor. 

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, AUTHOR, “RIGHTS FROM WRONGS”:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to get to what Randall Terry said in a minute.

But, first, I believe—and tell me whether I am wrong—I think that the Schindler family is shopping, not for a federal judge in Tampa, but to try to get that majority of two at the 11th Circuit.  If they lose this time in Tampa, it‘s kicked up to the conservative 11th Circuit.  If they get two out of three judges, they can reinsert that tube. 

DERSHOWITZ:  That‘s right.  And I have no criticism of this family. 

They honestly believe their daughter‘s life is at stake. 

Look, I support capital punishment lawyers who try to do everything to save the lives of people who they think might be innocent or might have had their rights violated.  So, I only commend people who try very hard.  I don‘t think they are going to get this conservative court to change its view, only because the conservative view, as, for example, demonstrated by my colleague at Harvard, Charles Fried, the former solicitor general of the United States under a Republican administration—the conservative view is that the state of Florida has the power to make this decision.  They may be wrong about the decision. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s called judicial restraint, isn‘t it, Professor? 

DERSHOWITZ:  But it‘s judicial restraint, and it‘s the fact that it‘s the legislature primarily here that made the decision in Florida.  The Missouri legislature reached a different decision.  This case would have come out differently in a number of states.

But Florida has said essentially that a statement made to a spouse and repeated in court may be enough.  By the way, I want to correct one thing.  I don‘t want to be technical about it.  But the statement is not hearsay.  Let me tell you why.  It‘s called in law a verbal act.  That is, it is a statement allegedly made by Terri Schiavo simply testified to by her husband.  It‘s not testimonial.  It is a statement. 

And he is not describing something that is hearsay.  He is an eyewitness to that statement.  Now, I still think it‘s a thin read personally on which to take a life in the face of what ought to be a very, very strong presumption of life, instead of death.  But the two issues here are, one, is Florida right or wrong?  I think it‘s wrong.  Second, does it have the power under federalism to make that mistake, and do the federal courts have the right to intervene?

And the normal answer to that question is, no.  That‘s complicated by the fact that Congress has now moved in and said, in Terri Schiavo‘s case, and only in Terri Schiavo‘s case, in fact, the federal court does have a right to move in.  This is extremely complicated.  This is a tragic case involving human life.  But I have to tell you, as a law professor, it is a fascinating case, with rights and wrongs on both sides, and we will continue to teach this case for many years to come. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  It‘s remarkable. 

Geoffrey Fieger, let‘s go back.  Regardless of what you call it, I certainly know that, if somebody were being executed that was on death row based on the testimony of one person, whether you want to call it hearsay or not, the testimony of one person who was an interested witness, you would be concerned.

FIEGER:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  The ACLU would be concerned.  “The New York Times” editorial page would be concerned.  All the people who think that George Bush‘s actions are wrong would be very concerned.  Isn‘t there some hypocrisy here on both sides? 

FIEGER:  No.  First of all, this isn‘t a criminal case.  And, second of all...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, so, she is even more innocent.  So, shouldn‘t the standard be even higher? 

FIEGER:  Well, you know, you are ignoring what the avalanche of medical evidence is in this case. 

For instance, Dr. Ronald Cranford, who examined her for the state of Florida, who is a neurologist at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, testified and wrote and gave evidence that her EEG has—she has no electrical activity in her brain.  The CAT scan shows her brain to be massively shrunk. 

To say that she‘s alive, she is alive only in the sense that her heart is beating.  She has none of the—she has none....

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And herein lies the problem, Geoffrey. 

(CROSSTALK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, though.

FIEGER:  She has none of the indicia of an individual that we call a human being. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Her parents say she does. 

FIEGER:  I know. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You and I both know—hold it a second. 

FIEGER:  But the problem is, they‘re the only ones who do.

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, you and I are both attorneys.  You certainly have practiced a lot more than I have, but you and I both know, you can go out and buy an expert to say whatever you want.  The state can go out and appoint an expert to say whatever they want. 

FIEGER:  They didn‘t buy it.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A judge—hold on.  A judge can go out and get an expert to say whatever the judge wants.  You and I both know there is evidence on both sides of this case. 

FIEGER:  No, there wasn‘t. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, there is. 

FIEGER:  There was not a single—Joe, there was not a single neurologist who examined her who ever said that this poor patient wasn‘t in a permanent, not—irreversible vegetative state. 

Whoever said that her EEG had any electrical activity, whoever said that her brain wasn‘t massively shrunk, whoever she had no—any indicia as of individuality as we understand human existence to be?  Not one, except, lately, where they found some Christian doctor who never examined her, who that is the doctor that you are talking about. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no, no, no.  Actually, Governor Jeb Bush also has somebody. 

FIEGER:  No, he doesn‘t. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That he has had from the state—come down for the state of Florida.  Yes, I read the affidavit earlier tonight saying that he looked at her and saw that he did not believe she was in a permanent vegetative state. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Alan Dershowitz, let me bring you in here.

DERSHOWITZ:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because a question comes up regarding civil rights.  At one point do we say, listen, we are just going to discard these people; they don‘t have the same civil rights that you and I have or that somebody with Alzheimer‘s have?  Where—I mean, where is this line being drawn now? 

DERSHOWITZ:  Well, it‘s being drawn at whether or not she made the decision to die.  If she didn‘t make the decision to die, this would be an abomination. 

Nobody should kill, by starvation or by any other means, somebody who is in permanent or persistent vegetative state.  We don‘t do that in this country.  In fact, if there weren‘t a court order, if somebody walked into that room and killed this woman, it would be first-degree murder and a capital offense even if she was in a persistent vegetative state. 

So, I think nobody disputes the fact her condition doesn‘t justify killing her.  The only thing that conceivably does is a finding by the court that this is her wish, her decision.  And so the issue is twofold.  No. 1, in America, does a person who is in a situation like this have a right to make a decision not to continue to live?  If the answer to that is yes, the second question is, did she make that decision? 

As to the first question, I think the answer should be yes.  As to the second, I personally don‘t think there is necessarily enough evidence to reach that decision.  But nobody is saying that a person in this condition should be killed against her wishes.  The question is, is this her wish?

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me wrap it up with predictions. 

I will start with you, Professor.  Does she have any chance?  Do her parents have any chance to prevail in any court in the land? 

DERSHOWITZ:  I don‘t think so. 

I mean, her whole—her primary chance now is if this federal district court writes something that will give perhaps one more vote in the court of appeals.  Remember what I said the other day, too.  This is a different case from just giving a stay.  They would have to reinsert the tube.  And nobody is going to order the reinsertion of a tube just for a day or two.  They have to make a decision that, if the tube goes in, it‘s in for long, perhaps indefinite period of time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

DERSHOWITZ:  So I think she is not going to win. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Geoffrey Fieger, quickly, prediction?

FIEGER:  No.  No.  The 11th Circuit have voted en banc 10-2 against the Schindlers.  I don‘t think there‘s a possibility even if they think they are shopping in the 11th circuit for a reversal. 

And unless somebody drives Governor Bush to do something that will be politically unwise, like going into that hospital room and kidnapping her, it‘s over.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Alan Dershowitz, Geoffrey Fieger, as always, thank you both for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Now, coming up next, Michael Schiavo‘s brother Brian is going to be here to tell us the very latest on his brother and his decision. 

That‘s when we return in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Terri Schiavo‘s husband, Michael, is being attacked from all sides.  But is he actually showing one final act of compassion?  I am going to be talking to one of the people who know him best, his brother, in just a minute.

But, first, here‘s the latest news that your family needs to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, our continuing coverage of the Terri Schiavo case.

You are seeing a live shot right now from outside Terri Schiavo‘s hospice center in Pinellas Park, Florida. 

Now, Terri‘s husband, Michael, obviously is at the center of the firestorm for fighting to allow his wife to die. 

And with me now is Michael Schiavo‘s brother, Brian. 

Brian, thanks for being with us. 

You know, as you know as well as anybody, there‘s been an awful lot said about your brother over this past week.  You just came from the hospice, I understand. 

BRIAN SCHIAVO, BROTHER OF MICHAEL SCHIAVO:  A few—a few hours ago. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A few hours ago with your brother.  What is his current state of mind right now in the middle of this firestorm? 

SCHIAVO:  Well, I was—actually, last night, I was with him.  He was in tears, actually.  He is very, very upset with this.  He can‘t understand why people can‘t believe that he and his wife had a commitment to each other that they would not let each other, if it came down to it, lie in this condition. 

He has been made out to be, you know, this animal, this villain, this

·         he is a demon.  And it couldn‘t be farther from the truth.  He can‘t believe that the government has gotten involved with this.  He is just—he is very upset.  Not only that, you know, his wife, his friend is passing away.  You know, so there‘s a lot of emotions he is going through right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, a lot of us don‘t understand—and I include

myself in this—a lot of us don‘t understand, from a distance, and I know

·         I was—I was in public service, so I understand being judged when people don‘t know the whole story. 

SCHIAVO:  Correct. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, that‘s why I am glad that you are here to tell us the whole story.  A lot of us don‘t understand why, since he has moved on, and he has got a girlfriend, he has got two kids, which I don‘t think anybody faults him for—faults him for doing that—but since he has moved on, why doesn‘t he leave her care to her parents, who love her and want to stay there with her and take care of her? 

SCHIAVO:  Well, for a few reasons. 

No. 1, and most importantly is because he had a commitment to her that has been adjudicated to be the truth, that he would not let her lay like that, No. 1.  No. 2, you know, she is not a football.  And she is not an object you pass back and forth.  No. 3, her parents—he is nervous to do that, because her parents, her father in particular, he testified under oath that, if necessary, he would remove her arms, her legs, he would have her placed on a ventilator if she had breathing problems. 

He would have her undergo open-heart surgery if necessary.  And when asked why, Mr. Schindler said, well, because it would keep her alive, and that makes us happy.  Mr. Schindler also testified that, even if he knew that this was what Terri wanted, he would actually insert a tube in her if she didn‘t want a tube.  So, he doesn‘t want to make her a guinea pig.  You know, he wants to give her the dignity that she deserves and the privacy that she deserves.

And, you know, that has been totally undermined, and, from the beginning of this, the Schindlers have done nothing but make this a—they have tried this in a court of public opinion, and that‘s where it‘s gotten.  It‘s gotten so out of hand.  It‘s with the politicians now.  You know, in my personal opinion, this is nothing more than—they don‘t care about Terri.  They care about the political votes that she represents. 

And it‘s absolutely—I‘m embarrassed at having Jeb Bush as a governor.  He was 15 minutes from the hospice a few days ago.  He was—he could have come in to see.  He was asked numerous times to come in and take a look at this, both sides of the coin.  And he just blatantly turned his head of it.

You know, everybody is entitled to their opinions.  All these people you see standing out there, they are all entitled to be there.  You know, as far as I am concerned, they can stand out there naked.  But, you know, what is not right is that people should not be permitted to impose their opinions on people, as Jeb Bush is doing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, you—in that last answer, you said that—and I know a lot of people would be surprised to hear you say it, that you think the parents, the Schindlers, are doing this for political reasons and not personal reasons, that they are not doing it because they love their daughter and want to protect their daughter, that you say they are after political votes. 

How does that help them at all?  They are not politicians. 

SCHIAVO:  Actually, I didn‘t mean the Schindlers themselves. 

I believe that the Schindlers are riding, if you can picture, a little boat, and they are riding this big wave that is filled with all these activists, and they have been—and you could see this over time just building and building.  The more involved the activists have been, the more involved the politicians have been, that has fueled this. 

I think a lot of these physicians have come in and given them misinformation and false hope.  And I am not saying the Schindlers don‘t love their daughter.  They do love their daughter.  I am not saying that.  But, you know...

SCARBOROUGH:  And you are not saying that they are doing it for political reasons.  You are saying that politicians are getting involved in this to win votes. 

SCHIAVO:  Exactly, yes.  That‘s what I am saying. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me ask you a question about your brother, because—because this is the one thing, quite frankly, that I haven‘t understood on the other side of it, and giving your brother the benefit of the doubt.

SCHIAVO:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, again, I will be honest with you.  This bothers me a great deal, but, at the same time, I am asking myself this.  Why would your brother make himself basically public enemy No. 1 for maybe half of the population or even 40 percent of the population?

He knows he has been vilified in the press.  He knows this isn‘t going to go away anytime soon.  I am wondering, through this entire process, when he could have walked away from it, did he ever have any second thoughts and say, you know what, it‘s not worth it; I am going to worry about my children; I am going to worry about my new family; I am just going to let this go?

SCHIAVO:  Absolutely not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubts at all?  Never? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIAVO:  And the reason he did it is because he is committed to this. 

He committed to her, he promised her that he would not let her lay like

this, as she did for him.  If it was in the other—you know, if she was -

·         if he was lying in that state, she—he told me that they had the commitment that that would not happen and she wouldn‘t let him lie like that.

So, it‘s about commitment, you know.  And maybe if we had a little more commitment between people, there would be a lot more marriages that held together in this country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You think he is going to try to attend, or will you or any family members try to attend her funeral? 

SCHIAVO:  Oh, I definitely will. 

Terri—I was very close to Terri.  Terri was a good friend of mine, and that‘s one of the reasons that I have been speaking out, because she is my friend.  I am also speaking out, obviously, for my brother.  But I am here to speak for Terri also.  Nobody is speaking for her on this side of it.  You know, it‘s been adjudicated.  You know, everybody has said—this thing has been—why do you think this thing has gone on so long? 

Because Judge Greer has given the Schindlers and their representation all the time in the world.  He has entertained every frivolous motion that has come across his desk.  And for them to say that they didn‘t have a fair chance at this, I mean, Mr. Schindler has come out and said that—earlier that Judge Greer and my brother were in conspiracy against he and his family, I mean, just really strange, strange things.

But that is why this has gone on so long, is because Judge Greer has been very open to everything.  He has given everybody an opportunity to say what they want.  The Schindlers just aren‘t happy with the outcome.  And they just—as Jeb Bush wants.  He just wants a new trial. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Right. 

SCHIAVO:  Jeb Bush wants—he wants the ability to step in as a monarch, if you will, and say, look, I don‘t like what happened.  I am going to change the rules for my benefit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Brian, thank you so much for being here and telling your brother‘s side of the story. 

SCHIAVO:  You‘re quite welcome.

SCARBOROUGH:  We greatly appreciate it.  I know it‘s been a trying time for you and your family as well. 

SCHIAVO:  I appreciate having me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, right now, we are obviously waiting for a federal court out of Central Florida to rule on this case, to see if the feeding tube will be reinserted.  There aren‘t many legal experts that believe that‘s going to happen, but, tonight, the Schindlers hope and they pray. 

I will be back in a moment to talk to former presidential candidate Alan Keyes when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now is former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who has been fighting with Congress and Terri‘s parents to help keep her alive. 

Alan, you just heard the brother of Michael Schiavo.  Respond. 

ALAN KEYES, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think what we actually have here—I have always thought it kind of strange that they would say,get the government involved.

The minute the judiciary is involved in something, the government is involved.  It‘s a branch of government.  And, in this particular case, it‘s a branch of government that, in the form of Judge Greer and now all the other courts, are—is disregarding a basic right of Terri Schiavo, the right to life, that is actually explicitly guaranteed in the Florida Constitution.  Article 1, Section 2 says that every natural person shall inalienable rights, among them, the right to enjoy and defend life. 

And, right now, Jeb Bush is in the spotlight.  He is the one who actually has the obligation by his oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution of Florida.  And he has to move to protect the integrity of Terri Schiavo‘s constitutional rights. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you not think he has done enough? 

KEYES:  Of course not.  He hasn‘t done anything.  She is being starved to death. 

And the notion that the judge‘s order keeps him from acting is absurd.  Just as the judges have to look at the Constitution, and if a law passed by the legislature is in their view not compatible with the Constitution, they don‘t regard that law and don‘t apply it.  So, if a judge in the whole judiciary makes a decision that is contrary to the Constitution in the view of Governor Bush, he has to abide by the Constitution‘s higher law, not by the dictate of the judge. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you think we should have an Elian Gonzalez-type raid, where the governor sends in the National Guard or troops to go in and remove her and put in the feeding tube? 

KEYES:  I think the governor has to do what‘s necessary.

He has the supreme executive power in the state of Florida.  There‘s no higher executive authority, no executive authority in the state that can challenge him.  And he also is charged by oath with supporting, protecting and defending the Constitution, which is being egregiously violated in this case, because she is being done to death, when there is clearly a reasonable doubt as to whether or not this is her will.  And that means it‘s just murder. 

And murder, whether it‘s done by the judiciary or somebody else, is still a fundamental contravention of constitutional integrity.  And he has sworn to enforce laws and uphold and defend the Constitution of Florida.  So, he is duty-bound to do it.  And, if he does not, then the responsibility for the outcome rests squarely on his shoulders, because the executive is charged with the power to act. 

The judiciary can opine.  The legislature can legislate.  Only Jeb Bush can act to save her life. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Rick MacArthur right now.  He is the publisher of “Harper‘s.”

Rick, what do you say? 

RICK MACARTHUR, PUBLISHER, “HARPER‘S”:  Well, before we get to Jeb Bush—and I feel vindicated from my last appearance on your show, when I insisted that Jeb Bush was running for president. 

I have got to say something about hypocrisy in this case.  There‘s hypocrisy and then there‘s hypocrisy bordering on the psychotic.  And, in the case of the Christian right screaming bloody murder about someone who is in a vegetative state having the life support pulled from her, why isn‘t your friend Brandi out doing a prayer vigil for all the innocent civilians we have killed in Iraq in the last year and a half?  Why isn‘t she holding a prayer vigil for the dead babies and civilians who were killed in those bombings in Afghanistan? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Alan Keyes? 

MACARTHUR:  But wait a minute. 

In the meantime—and that‘s further afield than maybe you wanted to go—why aren‘t we talking about the law that George Bush, the president, signed in Texas—and I‘m quoting here—the Texas statute that permits hospitals to withdraw critical care in certain cases, despite the most vehement objections of family members, which establishes a bureaucratic process that can doom such patients? 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK. 

MACARTHUR:  Even if, unlike Ms. Schiavo, they are fully capable of speech.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You have now blocked us out of being able to get any response. 

MACARTHUR:  The president signed this when he was governor of Texas.

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got a hard break.  We have got to go to break.  I shouldn‘t have let you read the Constitution of Texas.  We will be right back in a second. 

Coming up, more on the Terri Schiavo case.  We have got breaking news.  We are waiting for a decision from the U.S. District Court on whether Terri Schiavo will be saved tonight or not. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH: 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now it‘s time for the “Real Deal.” 

The court-ordered starvation of Terri Schiavo is nearing its bitter end.  When it is over, when the courts, the Florida Senate and Michael Schiavo succeed in finishing off an innocent 41-year-old woman, it‘s going to be time for us to take our judicial system back. 

You know, I heard what his brother said, and I understand there are two sides to every story.  But there is something terribly wrong with a power structure in America that allows a local politician who is elected by a few thousand votes to trump the will of the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, and the president of the United States, just because that local politico wears a black robe to work. 

Do we really live in a country where one local judge allows one conflicted husband‘s evidence to hold the power of an executioner‘s blade?  Sadly tonight, it seems that we do.  And why is it that we live in a land and have laws in Florida and across the country that call for the arrest of citizens for withholding food and water from dogs, but our courts actively participate in a process that ends up killing a woman? 

Why is that the same activists who fight to save the whales, the spotted owls, and a snail darter, for God‘s sake, sit quietly by while the U.S. government helps kill Terri Schiavo?  Why do we see the visceral reaction by leftist organizations to the attempts to save Terri Schiavo‘s life?  Do these liberals really hate George Bush so much?  And that‘s all you ever hear about, George Bush.  You never hear about Terri Schiavo.

But do they hate George Bush so much that they are cheering for Terri‘s death only because the president of the United States and his brother are fighting for Terri‘s life? 

You know, there are no easy answers here, no quick solutions, only one suggestion.  Tonight, as we enter Easter weekend, it‘s time to pray for Terri Schiavo, pray for her family, and pray for the souls of the judges and politicians who signed this helpless woman‘s death warrant. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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