Gov. Jeb Bush went to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a bid to keep a severely brain-damaged woman alive over her husband’s objections.
At issue is whether Bush overstepped his authority when he pushed through the Legislature a law in 2003 that allowed him to have Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted. Six days earlier, her husband had the tube removed with a judge’s approval.
Dubbed “Terri’s Law,” the measure was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year as a violation of the separation of powers before the legislative and judicial branches.
On Wednesday, the governor’s attorneys filed an appeal with the nation’s highest court in which they argued that the Florida Supreme Court ruling has “ominous” implications for “the most vulnerable of our citizens who cannot speak for themselves.”
George Felos, the attorney for Schiavo’s husband, Michael, called the appeal another delaying tactic by the governor. He said he doubts the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to hear the case.
“I think every independent legal scholar who has looked at this case and the decision of the Florida Supreme Court will agree there is no real arguable basis for federal jurisdiction,” Felos said.
Schiavo is at the center of one of the nation’s longest and most bitter right-to-die battles, a dispute that has pitted her husband against her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.
Schiavo, who will turn 41 on Friday, suffered severe brain damage after collapsing in 1990 because of an eating disorder. Some doctors say she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery, while doctors brought in by her parents say there is a chance she could regain some faculties.
She left no written instructions, but her husband has argued that she made it clear before her collapse that she would never want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that.