First Published on Thursday, May 06, 2004 by Sam Kastensmidt
On May 6, Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird struck down “Terri’s Law,” which was enacted to save Terri Schiavo from court-ordered death by starvation.
In October 2003, after years of litigation and appeals, Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed. This inspired one of the largest grassroots mobilization efforts in Florida history, flooding Tallahassee with tens of thousands of phone calls, e-mails, and letters. Only six days after the court-ordered starvation had begun, the Florida Legislature, in emergency session, passed a law designed exclusively for Terri Schiavo. Governor Jeb Bush then issued an executive order (effective immediately) requiring healthcare workers to reinsert Terri’s feeding tube.
Judge Baird Places “Right to Privacy” over “Right to Life”
Judge W. Douglas Baird’s ruling declared the law unconstitutional “because it is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the governor and because it unjustifiably authorizes the governor to summarily deprive Florida citizens of their constitutional right to privacy.”
The judge also issued a protective order prohibiting any further depositions in the case, claiming they would be “improper” and “burdensome.”
This order will prevent the governor’s office from seeking additional information from witnesses, which also prevents a much desired interview with Michael Schiavo. Ken Connor, the governor’s attorney, argued that such questioning is necessary because lawmakers were uncomfortable with Michael Schiavo’s motives.
Governor Bush Files Appeal, Husband Wants Death
Immediately following Judge Baird’s decision, Governor Jeb Bush filed a motion to appeal the decision. Though the appeal triggers an automatic stay of the decision, attorneys for Michael Schiavo (Terri’s estranged husband) have indicated that he may ask the courts to lift the stay, which would lead to Terri’s death. Attorneys for both sides acknowledged that the case will likely be resolved in the Florida Supreme Court.
Ken Connor, attorney for the Governor, told the Tampa Tribune, “It is disgusting to think they could take action to cause her death during the pendency of the appeal.”
Terri’s Parents Grieved by Decision
Weeks earlier, Michael Schiavo (Terri’s estranged husband) stripped Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, of the right to visit their daughter.
In a statement regarding Judge Baird’s decision, Pat Anderson, the Schindler family attorney, told reporters, “It is not surprising, but it is saddening, especially since Terri’s parents have not been allowed to see her since March 29. This puts a particularly tragic aspect to all of this.”
Callous Nature of Euthanasia Advocates
George Felos, a well known advocate of euthanasia and attorney for Michael Schiavo, described the decision as being “just wonderful to read, to see the judge in his analysis, in his language, to say what we’ve all known. This law is just grossly unconstitutional.”
When asked of Michael Schiavo’s response to the judge’s decision, Felos stated, “He was obviously delighted and very grateful to Judge Baird.”
Contact Governor Bush and express your gratitude for his tireless efforts in defending the precious life of Terri Schiavo.
Governor Jeb Bush
To contact Judge W. Douglas Baird directly, you may reach him at:
“Honorable” W. Douglas Baird
14250 49th Street North, Chamber 4
Clearwater, FL 33762
Download the easy-to-read, easy-to-share fact sheet exposing judicial tyranny in America.
Law Keeping Brain-Damaged Woman Alive Struck Down,” CNN News, May 6, 2004.
“Attorneys Argue Over Questioning Of Witnesses In Schiavo Case,” Associated Press, April 20, 2004.
“Terri Schiavo’s Husband May Remove Feeding Tube Despite Appeal,” Life News, May 10, 2004.