updated 3/30/2005 11:28:25 AM ET 2005-03-30T16:28:25

Guest: Jesse Jackson, James Dobson, Janie Siess, Bill Allen, Rick Santorum, Randall Terry, Ken Starr, David Boies, James Dobson

ANNOUNCER:  This is a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: “The Terri Schiavo Case.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY SCHINDLER, MOTHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO:  Michael and Jodi, you have your own children.  Please, please, give my child back to me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Terri Schiavo‘s mother begging for her daughter‘s life earlier tonight, 12 days now without food and water.  Many asking, why is your government allowing Terri Schiavo to starve to death, when starving an animal is a crime in Florida?  We will talk about that soon. 

And, also, I am going to be asking Senator Santorum why Congress is so helpless when it comes to saving Terri Schiavo.  Also, in his first TV interview about Terri Schiavo, an exclusive interview with one of the country‘s leading evangelical leaders, Dr. James Dobson.  And breaking news from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who says he may be able to broker a deal with Florida senators to save Terri‘s life. 

And a legal showdown between Ken Starr and David Boies.  No one has been able to stop a state judge who seems to have more power than the president when it comes to matters of life and death in this tragic case. 

Terri Schiavo has now gone 12 days without food or water, and tonight, that plea to Michael Schiavo to please give Terri back to her parents, Michael Schiavo‘s attorney issued a statement after that saying—quote—

“As Mr. Schiavo‘s attorney and the courts have repeatedly said, this case is not about Mrs. Schindler, Mr. Schiavo, or any other third party.  It‘s about Mrs. Schiavo and her own wishes not to be kept alive artificially. 

Lisa Daniels is outside the hospice right now with all of the day‘s developments and some that are breaking tonight. 

Lisa, what is the very latest? 

LISA DANIELS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  All right, Joe.  Well, in the last five minutes, actually, Bob Schindler, Terri Schiavo‘s father, passed us, went across the street, didn‘t talk to protesters, but went through the tent, which means that he is going to the hospice. 

Again, he didn‘t talk to reporters, didn‘t even talk to the crowd.  But take a look at the crowd behind me.  It‘s smaller than it was yesterday.  They are still carrying their signs that civilized society protects the voiceless and helpless, and they‘re still chanting and singing, breaking into song every so often.  But it really is getting ridiculous, Joe. 

Just a couple of minutes ago, we saw somebody bringing a parrot.  It really has become a circus.  It‘s very sad.  Earlier today, the Reverend Jesse Jackson came here and he held a prayer vigil for the family.  He was invited here by the Schindler family, and told reporters that the Terri Schiavo situation really presents a clash between moral ethics and legal ethics.  This is how he put it.  Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JESSE JACKSON, FOUNDER, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION:  This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri‘s life.  And today, we—we pray for a miracle.  We ask God‘s intervention, and God has done it before. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS:  Generally, the protesters have been very quiet today, except for one incident when a Taser gun was actually used.  Somebody tried to cross the barrier as the Reverend Jesse Jackson was speaking.  He was quickly arrested after the Taser gun went off. 

Also, the sheriff talked about a bomb threat.  We as reporters have been hearing stuff all afternoon, but it turned out that it really was nothing.  Apparently, somebody had called in at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.  The representative from the Pinellas County Police told us that somebody said that a bomb would go off on the hospice grounds when Terri Schiavo dies. 

The police did take the threat very seriously.  They checked the grounds. They checked the hospice, talked to the hospice workers, and concluded that it was really nothing.

So, Joe, that‘s the latest from here.  I will throw it back to you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot, Lisa.  We greatly appreciate it.  We are going to be checking back with you later in this show. 

You know, also talking about Reverend Jesse Jackson, I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago.  He is going to be on our show in a few minutes.  And he‘s talking about some possible breaking news.  Jesse Jackson says he may be able to broker a deal.  He has already spoken to two senators that say they are open to listening to Governor Jeb Bush‘s pleas to save Terri Schiavo‘s life.  That means that the Reverend Jackson says he needs one more, and there will be this deadlock that will be broken.  So we will be talking to Reverend Jackson later on in the show.

But, first, is there anything left to do for Terri Schiavo?  You know, there are a lot of those that believe there‘s still something Governor Jeb Bush can do.  And Randall Terry is one of them.  He is a spokesman for Terri‘s family. 

Randall, thank you for being with us.  We obviously know the breaking news tonight.  Terri Schiavo‘s father has walked past the protesters, just did it a few minutes ago, walked past reporters, said absolutely nothing, and he is going to see his daughter again.  Could it be possible that she is fading quickly and this may be the last time that he is able to visit her? 

RANDALL TERRY, SPOKESMAN FOR PARENTS OF TERRI SCHIAVO:  I don‘t believe that at all.  The family was in there earlier today. 

She is still responding.  She urinated last night, which means her kidneys are still working.  She has a strong pulse.  She is still breathing in a stable manner.  So, Joe, this woman has fought to cling to life in a way that none of us could have predicted, none of us could have foreseen, and that is why we are pleading with the Senate to honor Terri‘s obvious wishes that she wants to live. 

I mean, if Terri wanted to go, she would have slipped away by now.  Everything in this woman is saying, I want to live.  And so, I mean, literally, we feel like either this is a miracle from heaven itself or it‘s just the will, the incredible will of a woman to stay alive.  So, we are begging the Senate in Florida.  We have got people going there tomorrow to continue to plead for Terri‘s life, and we are so thankful for Reverend Jackson coming here.  It was such a spark of hope for the family.  And we pray that he can broker that deal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Randall, a lot of bioethicists would say that your claims just are not grounded in medical fact, that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, that she is feeling no pain, she has got no response to outside stimuli.  There‘s no way that she even knows whether she is fighting for something or not.  What do you say to that? 

(CROSSTALK)

TERRY:  I would say two things.  No. 1, it would mean that every eyewitness who has been in there over the last two weeks or the last five years is either hallucinating or lying, and that assertion would be absurd.

And it would mean that the 30 doctors who have filed affidavits on Terri‘s behalf that she has been misdiagnosed, that those doctors are all incorrect.  And I cannot accept that.  There are people who have an agenda that is a part of the euthanasia movement, and then there are good people who just think, well, wow, she‘s PVS and just let her go. 

But there is this body of people who are medical professionals saying she has been misdiagnosed, and all of these family members and friends who are going in there who are talking about Terri, lifting her hands when they reminisce with her about dancing and about music, and her trying desperately to talk, her still following them with her eyes and responding in direct response to the questions that are being put to her.  So, either all of these people are hallucinating or lying or they are accurate. 

(CROSSTALK)

TERRY:  And Terri‘s voice is saying, let me live.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, all right, obviously we know George Felons has an agenda.  He has been involved in the right-to-die movement for some time. 

TERRY:  Yes.  He‘s a euthanasia...

(CROSSTALK)

TERRY:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Many people would say that you have an agenda.  You have been in the pro-life community for quite some time.  But there are workers in the hospice.  There are law enforcement officers that we have heard are guarding these doors. 

If Terri Schiavo were moving, if she were raising her arms, if she were responding to guests, are you sitting here tonight telling us that these people would maintain a conspiracy of silence and allow Terri Schiavo to just die, despite what you claim that everybody that visits her sees? 

TERRY:  Joe, Joe, listen to me.  I believe that some of the most damning words of all time are, I‘m just doing my job.  I am just following orders. 

That‘s what the Roman soldiers said who were guarding Christ.  That‘s what a lot of German police said who were involved in carting people away.  I mean, would it surprise you in the least if some of these police officers were watching and saw—I mean, we have had testimony of the officers actually responding and coming around the bed to look at Terry as they heard her lift up her voice.  So, of course, I believe that there are people who are just following orders and just doing their job. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the hospice?  What about the hospice officials, though?  Do you believe these hospice officials, these nurses, these medical providers would allow somebody to die if that person were raising her arms, if she were making eye contact, if she were trying to communicate with the outside world? 

TERRY:  Joe, you are a student of history. 

There have been innumerable times when good people stood by and did nothing while an innocent person died.  And, you know, the young blonde woman, I forget her name, the nurse that used to work here, and tried to turn Michael in for abuse, she did come forward.  She did lift up her voice, and she got fired.  So maybe some of these people know what‘s going on, and they are afraid of losing their job. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Randall Terry, thank you very much for being with us.  We are going to be staying with you, obviously going to be coming back to you possibly later in the show if there‘s breaking news, continued breaking news.  And, also, we will be talking to you tomorrow. 

Now let‘s go to Senator Rick Santorum.  Obviously, Senator Santorum has also been a leading voice in the right-to-life organization, the right-to-life movement. 

Senator Santorum, are you there? 

SEN. RICK SANTORUM ®, PENNSYLVANIA:  I‘m here, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, I see that you are down there, right outside Terri‘s hospice center.  Glad to see that somebody in Congress is not afraid to confront this issue head on.  I want to ask you a simple question.  Why is the president of the United States, why is the United States Congress, why is the governor of the state of Florida impotent when it comes to saving this woman‘s life? 

SANTORUM:  That‘s a good question.

And, first, I can tell you, the United States Congress and the president acted to save this woman‘s life.  We passed a law.  And the law was very clear.  It said that a federal court shall hear this case and a federal court shall have a new trial with new evidence and a whole new evidentiary record. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But they ignored you. 

SANTORUM:  And what happened was—well, the federal court ignored us.  And so what we have is a situation where one branch of government thinks it‘s superior to the other branches of government, and that‘s what we, as you know, Joe, have been saying for quite some time is going on in the judiciary in this country, where the judiciary believes that they are now not a coequal branch, but a superior branch of the federal government and continues to run roughshod over the intent of the people‘s branches, and that‘s the ones that are elected. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Senator Santorum, what is so remarkable is, you have a federal judge out of Tampa that refused—it‘s called a de novo view, as you know.  It‘s a new case, a new trial. 

SANTORUM:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He was supposed to hear the facts all over again.  He refused to do it.  And then you have got a state court judge who has ignored subpoenas from the Senate and the House.  Isn‘t it the responsibility of the people‘s house, isn‘t it the responsibility of elected senators to take somebody to task when they ignore congressional subpoenas? 

SANTORUM:  Well, that‘s really going to be the million-dollar question when the Congress gets back in next week.

And, you know, poor Terri Schiavo has about as bad a luck as you can have.  The tube was pulled the last day Congress was in session, for an unusually two-week long recess.  We usually only go on one-week recesses.  This was an unusual situation, and so we haven‘t been able to respond to these incidences of the judiciary.  And I am hopeful that we will, but, unfortunately, too late for Terri Schiavo. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know what, though, Senator?  I see you down there.  You have made an effort to go down there and have your voice heard, I mean, one way or the other, regardless of how you feel.

Shouldn‘t senators, shouldn‘t congressmen, shouldn‘t the president come back from a two-week recess if this is, in fact, not just about saving Terri Schiavo‘s life, but also about a possible constitutional crisis, where you have got the judiciary ignoring the legislative branch? 

SANTORUM:  Well, I have spoken to other members of the Congress.  I spoke to Congressman DeLay.  And we have talked extensively about whether there‘s any options available to us. 

The only option that we saw, and it‘s unlikely, is the Senate to come back again and pass the House bill, but, again, it calls for the federal judge to have a new trial.  They have already dismissed it once.  There‘s no rational person would think that they just—wouldn‘t just go ahead and dismiss it again.

So, really, the action on the part of the Congress at this point is to review and oversight of the action of the judiciary here, and there‘s certainly all sorts of ways that the House of Representatives and the Senate can do that.  And the problem is, it doesn‘t solve the problem of Terri Schiavo, and that is the real tragedy of the whole matter. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You are exactly right. 

Senator Rick Santorum, as always, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it. 

We are going to have a lot more to come.  Straight ahead, a live interview with Dr. James Dobson, a live interview with the Reverend Jesse Jackson on his breaking news and his attempts to save Terri‘s life.

But, first, is starving a woman to death immoral and why is our government doing?  We are going to debate that with a bioethicist from Florida when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Supporters of Terri Schiavo say it‘s a crime in Florida to starve an animal, but yet they are doing it to a human being.  Isn‘t there a more humane way to do this?  Up next, we‘re going to have a debate on medical ethics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

JACKSON:  Without food or water for 12 days, there are vital signs.  She is being starved to death.  She is being dehydrated to death, and that‘s inhumane.  It is immoral, and it is unnecessary.  There‘s no rational reason for this to happen. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That was Jesse Jackson outside of Terri Schiavo‘s hospice earlier today.  Of course, we are going to be talking to him later in this show, talking about the possible break in this case.  Reverend Jackson says he may be able to get enough votes to save Terri Schiavo‘s life. 

Now, for 12 days, Terri has been denied food and water, as she is starving to death and she is also being dehydrated.  Now, starvation is obviously a crime in Florida under any other circumstance.  It‘s even a crime to starve an animal to death.  So, why is removing a feeding tube an acceptable way to end a life? 

With me now is Bill Allen.  He‘s the director of the program in bioethics, law and medical professionalism at the University of Florida College of Medicine.  We also have attorney Janie Siess.  She argued a 2001 California case that set a precedent on this matter. 

Let me begin with you, Bill.  You heard Jesse Jackson talk about how this was immoral, how it was unacceptable.  Obviously, emotions are running high.  A lot of Americans, myself included, don‘t understand why it‘s ethically OK to deny food and water to this woman.  Explain it to us, if you will, from a medical bioethics argument.  Why is this the most humane thing to do? 

BILL ALLEN, BIOETHICIST:  Well, because if Terri doesn‘t, if Mrs.  Schiavo doesn‘t want this, then her wishes should prevail. And it‘s not food and water.  It‘s an invasive procedure that requires an operation to give her fluids and nutrition, that she can‘t swallow.  And it shouldn‘t be called starvation.  It‘s wrong to call it starvation.  If this were withdrawal of a ventilator, you wouldn‘t call it suffocation if it‘s an appropriate withdrawal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Would you put on the same level keeping nutrients, keeping food and water or whatever you want to call it from a patient the same thing as a ventilator or a respirator, where you have got a machine plugged in that is basically doing the work of lungs or other organs? 

ALLEN:  Yes, because it‘s not the complexity of the medical procedure that matters.  It‘s whether the person finds it to be more of a burden than a benefit.  And many people find feeding tubes to be that way. 

My own grandmother, the nurses said you could hear her screaming all over two floors when they put the feeding tubes down her nose.  And then she sat up and pulled them out when they left the room.  So, they came in and tied her wrists down.  She sat up and reached down to her wrist with her nose and pulled them out again. 

I think that‘s humane.  If somebody regards it as something that they don‘t want, that is what is inhumane.  So, it doesn‘t matter whether it‘s feeding tubes or dialysis or a ventilator or even aggressive antibiotics.  If it‘s a form of treatment where the person believes that the benefits aren‘t—are outweighed by the burdens of the treatment, they should be able to refuse it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Janie Siess, let me ask you your response to his statements and also response to a lot of articles I have been reading talking about how humane it is, what a gentle death starvation is.  “The New York Times,” in fact, had that in a headline just last week.  Is starvation, is the deprivation of nutrients, of water a peaceful way to die, as some are claiming? 

JANIE SIESS, ATTORNEY:  Well, I am not a doctor, but Ronald Cranford, the same neurologist who is involved in this case, testified in my case in California.

And he described graphically the process of death, and it was anything but calm or peaceful.  It was gruesome.  It was horrific.  And it involved pain.  Now, the other thing that we need to remember here is that we are not talking about a ventilator for Terri Schiavo, and we are not talking about ending her life in a matter of a few minutes when you remove that ventilator.  we are talking about a woman now who is in the 12th day of a gruesome, prolonged death. 

You are hearing reports that she is being given morphine.  That‘s for a reason.  It‘s because of pain.  You are hearing that her eyes are sunken in.  You are hearing that her skin is dry.  Her tongue was too dry for them to give her the communion wafer, and she could only tolerate one drop of communion wine.  That is because this woman is suffering.  This is inhumane because there‘s precious little evidence of what Terri would have wanted, and there is no evidence that she would have consented to this type of death. 

And that‘s the real question.  Does the person say to someone, I don‘t want to live in a disabled state, but then the second part of that equation is, do they understand that to release them from that disabled state might sentence them to this kind of death?  And that‘s the point that I hear so many bioethicists, including Mr. Allen, missing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Mr. Allen, I will give you the last word. 

ALLEN:  Well, I am not missing that point.  I know plenty of people who have said, if I have bone cancer and I am dying of bone cancer and the pain can‘t be relieved adequately with narcotics, I want to refuse all kinds of artificial treatment.  It doesn‘t matter what kind it is, whether it‘s feeding tube or ventilator or any other kind. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Allen, do you think she is a person still? 

ALLEN:  Well, I think she has lost the distinguishing feature, or she has lost the physiological ability for awareness, self-awareness, which is the distinguishing feature of human being or, if you will, even the divine image. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, she is not a person anymore because she doesn‘t have awareness? 

ALLEN:  If she doesn‘t have awareness, which is the case in persistent vegetative state, yes. 

SIESS:  She is a person, and she has a substituted decision-maker, a guardian, her husband, who is subject to the highest possible fiduciary duty.  And it is his job to see that her rights are protected, and that‘s what has not happened in this case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Janie Siess, Bill Allen, thanks so much for being with me.  I appreciate it. 

Now for a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive.  Dr. James Dobson, the founder,.the chairman of the Focus on the Family, he is with us tonight. 

Dr. Dobson, thanks so much for being with us. 

You know, we have heard bioethicists tell us throughout the week that Terri Schiavo is no longer a person, their words.  She is a nonperson.  We have also heard “The New York Times,” other people talk about how starvation is a gentle way to die.  Respond to this. 

DR. JAMES DOBSON, PRESIDENT, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY:  Joe, I simply don‘t believe it. 

There have been more than two dozen physicians, many of them neurologists, who have said that she is not in a persistent vegetative state.  And I think that‘s propaganda.  I don‘t think you can kill somebody that you want to die unless you can convince everyone that this is just a very pleasant experience. 

I think it was Rush Limbaugh or somebody who said, yes, is starvation that easy?  Then go to the children in Africa who have these little bloated bellies because they are starving to death and say, that is such a very pleasant experience.  I don‘t believe it.  And I think there‘s a lot of evidence to refute it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Dr. Dobson, of course, last week, we quoted a “New York Times”‘ article that talked about a famine in the past, and “The Times” reporter talked about the young children clutching their stomachs in pain because of the hunger pains they were going through. 

Now, I want to show you a graphic. 

DOBSON:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We pay for criminals, OK?  We pay for criminals, the lowest of the low, to eat every day.  Charles Manson, for instance, is given food and water.  Jeffrey Dahmer was fed until the day he died.  And John Couey, the man who sexually assaulted and killed Jessica Lunsford, is eating a full meal every day. 

And here we have Terri Schiavo, again, guilty of nothing, starving to death.  Explain that one to me, if you will.  What does that say about our government? 

DOBSON:  Well, it says a whole lot about a country that would do something like this. 

This is a very, very sad experience, not only for Terri and for her family, but for humanity, not only in this country, but around the world.  You just can‘t start killing people.  You know, I have had a lot of experience with those who are mentally handicapped.  I was—when I was very young, I worked at a hospital for the mentally retarded, we called it then.  It‘s now mentally disabled. 

And then I was professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California, and I was in the division of medical genetics.  And I saw people who were not able to function at all.  I have actually seen children with hydrocephaly whose heads weighed 150 pounds.  They could not move.  We didn‘t kill them.  We didn‘t starve them to death.  We didn‘t give them an injection, because there was an understanding of the sanctity of life.

And we are losing that because of this right-to-die movement that the physician you had on last night is part of.  And it is really diminishing the value of life throughout this country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Dobson, a final question.  Will there be repercussions politically for the death of Terri Schiavo? 

DOBSON:  I don‘t think anyone can predict that right now, but I want to tell you something.  I am sick of the media jumping on the members of Congress, including Tom DeLay and Bill Frist and the others, who didn‘t take an opinion poll, who didn‘t ask whether or not it was going to be politically advantageous. 

And they did what was right.  The president of the United States, who flew back from Florida to sign that legislation, they did it regardless of the consequences.  And I want to be very gentle with this, but with regard to Governor Jeb Bush, he is not the enemy.  He has tried to do what he could to help Terri, but I wish he would throw caution to the wind.  I wish he would look for every possible alternative. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

DOBSON:  You heard just a minute ago, if I can just say this.  You heard a minute ago...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Dr. James Dobson, let—we will get you on the side of this break.

We‘ll be right back in one second.

DOBSON:  OK.  All right. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Up next, breaking news with Jesse Jackson, who has counseled Terri Schiavo‘s parents today.  And he says what‘s happening to her is immoral, but he claims he may have a solution with the Florida Senate.  We will talk to him in a minute.

But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines that your family needs to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  This is a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: “The Terri Schiavo Case.”

SCARBOROUGH:  We are back with Dr. James Dobson, obviously a founder of focus on the family. 

Dr. Dobson, you were talking about George Bush needing to throw caution to the wind, but you‘ve got—Jeb Bush—I‘m sorry, Jeb Bush—throwing caution to the wind, but you have got out there these judges, in this case, one state court judge in Central Florida that seems to have the entire government in Washington and Tallahassee cowed. 

DOBSON:  That is the point.  That‘s the point, Joe, because these were

·         because there are coequal branches of government.  That is the way our founding fathers set it up.  They were concerned about any one department or branch of government getting more power than the others.  And so they set up a checks and balances. 

It works between the executive and the legislative.  They balance themselves all the time.  But neither of those branches will take on the courts.  Governor Jeb Bush is the executive head of government in Florida.  He could take on the courts.  He has got equal authority. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But he says he can‘t. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, Dr. Dobson, you claim that he can.

DOBSON:  Well, that is what he says.

SCARBOROUGH:  But you have got the governor of the state of Florida, one of the biggest states in the country, saying, I am helpless.  I can‘t do anything because this state court judge in Central Florida has told me no. 

DOBSON:  That is what all of the leaders of the other two branches of government do.  They cow.  They are intimidated by the courts, and somebody needs to take them on, because they are out of control, all the way up to the Supreme Court. 

And the Congress is going to have to exercise its constitutional responsibility to rein in this imperious court.  And it probably ought to start right there in Florida with a probate judge.  That is what Judge Greer is.  It‘s not the Supreme Court.  It‘s a probate judge.  And he‘s cowing the...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  That is what is so remarkable.  You have got a single probate court judge, probably elected by a couple of thousand votes in Central Florida, that is cowing the president of the United States, the Congress, the governor of the state of Florida.  It‘s remarkable. 

Dr. Dobson, as always, thank you so much for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it. 

DOBSON:  Thank you, Joe, and thanks for what you are doing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Now let‘s bring on the Reverend Jesse Jackson.  He was in Florida today, obviously counseling Terri‘s family. 

Reverend Jackson, thank you so much for being back with us tonight.  I know this has been a very, very long day for you.  We greatly appreciate you coming in. 

I read across the wires tonight that you have been talking to members of the Florida Senate and actually have two members of the Senate that you are trying to get together with Jeb Bush, and if you can get three votes out of the Senate, then there may be a solution to this problem.  Tell us about your day. 

JACKSON:  Well, you know, I am very sensitive to separation of powers, and I do not want the legislative branch to infringe upon the independence of the courts. 

Having said that, in this case, we have law without mercy.  We should inform, and, therefore, create justice.  I would want them to have enough emergency legislation to allow her feeding tube to be in while they deliberate, just that, to get the feeding tube back in.  Right now, Scarborough, she is being starved to death.  Her vital signs are there.  But 12 days without food and water, it appears to be so unnecessary and unethical. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Reverend Jackson, you have done many, many things in your career.  You have been able to go overseas and to the Middle East, bring hostages back to America.  The question is, in this case, do you think you can get the three votes that you are working on right now and possibly get the feeding tube back into Terri Schiavo and possibly save her life? 

JACKSON:  We certainly can try to get the emergency assistance that is needed.  And I am really trying to operate above these family tensions and political squabbles and ask God for a miracle, and ask for mercy. 

You know, as a minister, I often deal in cases when people finally having to pull the plug.  A friend of mine, a beloved writer, Vernon Jarrett, died a few months ago.  And his family called me in.  And he was in the extreme stages of cancer.  And he needed the Demerol for the pain and then he slipped into unconsciousness, a coma.  And then, at some point in time, you could see the heart pulse rate begin to come down.  He was dying. 

And they pulled the plug, and, within minutes, he died.  That is not the case of Terri.  Here, they have pulled out plugs, and without food, without water, she is dying.  What makes it so merciless is that, on one hand, we have the food and the water.  She needs it.  And we will not supply it to her.  Often, death is beyond our control.  We cannot handle the uncertainties of fate.  In this instance, we can.  Yet, somehow, those who have the power choose not to save her life. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Reverend Jackson, are you going back down to Florida to continue your lobbying effort to try to get those three votes in the Florida Senate that could save Terri‘s life?  Are you going back down there tomorrow? 

JACKSON:  Probably so, probably to continue to pray to God for a miracle, to ask for some emergency assistance, but also ask those who are now rallying for Terri, we cannot stop here. 

Assuming that the best happens, we celebrate.  Assuming the worst happens, we mourn.  But the legacy she has establishes a renewed focus on the health care debate in the country.  In some sense, the issue of long-term health care for all people, the other 30,000 people who are in the same or similar position as Terri is tonight, if you were poor and without insurance, you could not get the care even she is getting.

So, there are many issues of substance that could serve to make America better if we deal with the issue in many ways that Terri symbolizes tonight. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Reverend Jackson, I think that‘s exactly what‘s going to happen.  And it‘s going to happen in the long-term health care debate.  It‘s also going to happen in Medicaid, because a lot of Medicare cuts are coming down this year.  I think that‘s exactly what this case is going to do. 

Reverend Jackson, thanks for being with us.  Obviously, we are going to be following you all day tomorrow.  I look forward to talking to you tomorrow.  And good luck and God bless in all of your efforts there. 

JACKSON:  Well, let‘s remain prayerful.  Remember that nothing is too hard for God.  It is on that faith that we hold out until the morning cometh. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Reverend.  And, again, we will be looking to see whether you can convince three Florida senators to change their votes. 

The Senate could stare down this probate judge in the state of Florida.  We will be talking about that and much more when we have a showdown between legal heavyweights Ken Starr and David Boies.  Why are judges handing down decisions that seem to contradict the will of the American people?  Is that their job or can they be stopped? 

That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Have the men in the black robes done Terri Schiavo an injustice? 

Here to answer that question, two legal heavyweights, David Boies, who, of course, represented Al Gore in the contested election of 2000.  He‘s also the author of “Courting Justice: From the New York Yankees v.  Major League to Bush v. Gore.”  And we also have former independent counsel Ken Starr, now the dean of the Pepperdine Law School. 

Let‘s begin with you, David Boies.  We have been asking the question tonight.  Should we have a system where a probate judge in Central Florida can basically trump the will of the president, of Congress, of other state courts, and the federal courts? 

DAVID BOIES, AUTHOR, “COURTING JUSTICE”:  We shouldn‘t, but we have got to understand that that‘s not what is happening here. 

You had a federal district court review it.  And although we may disagree with what the federal district court did, that was then appealed, to the 11th Circuit.  It has 10 judges, 12 active judges; 10 out of 12 of them voted to affirm.  It went to the United States Supreme Court.  The court unanimously rejected the appeal.  I mean, this is not a situation of one probate judge.  This is something that judges at every level of the state and federal system have looked at. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  But, David, here‘s my issue, OK?  Again, of course, Congress asked the federal judge in Tampa to do a de novo review, which we know means he is supposed to look at the facts all over again.  He is supposed to look at the law.  He did not do that.  And, again, what it all comes down to—and this is my bigger issue.  It‘s not just about Judge Greer.  It‘s about the fact that all of these other courts lend such great deference to the trial court judge, who gets all the facts, because they believe he is the one that is closest to the facts. 

In this case, that is costing Terri Schiavo her life.  Does that system cause you any concern? 

BOISE:  Yes, it does. 

You heard a number of people saying the justification for this was, it was her wishes.  And the problem is that I think that issue is very clouded.  And I think that that is an issue that has not been adequately reviewed by the federal courts.  And I am disappointed in that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ken Starr, when you were solicitor general, you actually argued the first right-to-die case before the United States Supreme Court.  There was a standard that was put in play there, clear and convincing evidence that the patient wanted to die.  In this case, Judge Greer says there was clear and convincing evidence, despite the fact that only Michael Schiavo and his relatives were the ones that said this woman wanted to die.  Any concerns there?  Do you believe that threshold has been met? 

KEN STARR, DEAN, PEPPERDINE LAW SCHOOL:  Well, that is quite troubling, that you have a situation where only one side has been essentially heard from fully.  But there was an adversary proceeding before the judge, and the judge had the opportunity to weigh the various evidence that came before him, so there was a process. 

I think one of the fundamental problems, Joe, is that it‘s a very bad law.  Florida has a law.  It‘s been in place for a long time, and one of the good things that will come out of this terrible tragedy is, I am confident that the Florida legislators will now take a very careful look and say, is this the kind of situation that we want, where you could have a divided family here?  Most states, that would not happen, so Florida needs to take a close look at its law.

But I think we all should be grateful that we have had such attention and care given to this, and that it does show a very grave concern, as represented by Reverend Jackson‘s very moving comments, about at this stage really a need for a miracle.  But we also need a very thoughtful reexamination of what Florida has done here.

So, I say, let‘s stop blaming the judges.  It‘s easy to judge-bash.  I don‘t think that‘s particularly helpful.  Has everything been done right?  I doubt it.  I very seriously doubt it, including the fact that there was not a guardian ad litem.  And there should have been throughout the proceedings.  And I‘m very troubled by that, that Terri‘s voice should have been represented by a guardian ad litem. That‘s what Florida law did call for, and apparently that was not done consistently throughout the case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Boies, what about the fact that Michael Schiavo remained the guardian for Terri even after he moved on?  And, again, we are not judging him for doing that.  But when he moved on, he got another girlfriend, had two kids.  At that point, shouldn‘t we have had the guardianship moved to the parents? 

BOISE:  I don‘t know whether to move to the parents, but I do think there should have been at least an independent guardian. 

One of the problems here is that, in a matter of life and death, when the family is divided, I think—and I said this before to you—I think the rule ought to be that that any family member, at least in the absence of pain, ought to be able to feed somebody that is still alive, keep them alive. 

And the thing that‘s most troubling to me is that the family is being prevented from doing that.  It‘s one thing if the family were united.  It‘s not united here.  And I agree with Ken, though, that this is not criticism of the judges.  The Florida legislature and the Congress of the United States had an opportunity to say one of two things.  Either, one, in this kind of case, insert the feeding tube, keep her alive, while the judicial process goes on, or, two, say in any case in which a family member wants to keep another family member alive by nourishment, they have got a right to do that. 

You could have said that.  Either legislature could have said it.  They didn‘t.  They punted it back to the courts without giving the courts clear guidelines. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, David Boies, Ken Starr, stay with me. 

We will be right back in a minute to talk about the legal fallout and whether we should appoint a blue-ribbon panel to review cases like this.  That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What can Congress and the courts do to make sure that a case like Terri Schiavo‘s never happens again?  We‘ll discuss that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You are looking at a live picture outside the hospice.  Terri Schiavo‘s father is there in the picture.  He‘s just left visiting his daughter. 

While we are looking at this picture, Ken Starr, let me go back to you.  Make a prediction.  Do you think we are going to see legal reform after the Schiavo case is over? 

STARR:  I think we will see reform of the law. 

In terms of the judiciary, I think you have got honest judges giving it their best view.  I think Florida has a very questionable law that allowed this kind of tragedy to unfold.  Let‘s change the law and just keep trying to encourage our judges to give it their best, honest judgment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Boies, I ask you the same thing.  Give us a prediction.  Do you think we‘ll see reform?

BOISE:  I predict we will see reform.  I think we will see reform in the law. 

I also think your idea about a blue-ribbon panel or some kind of panel with expertise that can deal with these kind of issues is critical.  This is just too important an issue not to have reform for. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, David Boies, thank you so much for being with us. 

Ken Starr, greatly appreciate you being with me.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We will see you tomorrow. 

And we leave—let‘s show those shots again outside Pinellas Park, outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo‘s father has just left his daughter and is now walking through the crowds, no doubt thanking them for coming out and lending their support to his dying daughter. 

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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