Thursday, March 24, 2005

Starvation Day 7

Minister to Jeb Bush:
Disobey court order

D. James Kennedy says governor
must 'disregard' judge to save Terri

With all legal remedies apparently exhausted, a prominent evangelical Christian leader is urging Jeb Bush to disobey a judge's order barring the Florida governor from intervening to save the life of Terri Schiavo.

In a statement shortly after Judge George Greer's decision today, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., minister D. James Kennedy pointed to Bush "as the only legal authority who can save the life of Terri Schiavo. "

Kennedy, president of Coral Ridge Ministries, said Bush "must act and he must act immediately on her behalf."

"He must disregard the order of Judge Greer," Kennedy said. "He has both the authority and the duty to do so under the state constitution."

This afternoon, Greer rejected Bush's request to grant the governor protective custody. Yesterday, he barred the Department of Children & Families from taking custody.

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from Terri Schiavo's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, for an emergency order allowing Schiavo's feeding tube to be reinserted.

As WorldNetDaily reported, Bush appeared to be clearing the way for unilateral action when he appeared at a news conference yesterday afternoon to confirm the DCF, under his authority, has the legal right to remove Terri Schiavo, by force if necessary, from the hospice where she has lived the past five years.

Bush said new information had come to light warranting intervention, including a review of Terri Schiavo's condition by neurologist Dr. William Cheshire, who claims she may have been misdiagnosed. Cheshire believes Schiavo to be in a "minimally conscious state," not a "persistent vegetative state" as Greer has determined.

"It is imperative that she be stablized so the DCF team can fulfill their statute to review the facts surrounding the case," Bush said.

Kennedy said Bush should be commended for his efforts over the past two years -- which include the state legislature's passage of "Terri's Law" -- but he noted those efforts "thus far has proven fruitless." The law later was declared unconstitutional.

"Neither the state legislature nor the courts, state or federal, have been willing to act on behalf of this helpless woman who is now within hours of death," Kennedy said.

Kennedy points out the Florida constitution states in Article I, Section 2, that "[a]ll natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law, and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life ... ." According to the Constitution, "no person shall be deprived of any right [including the right to enjoy life] because of ... physical disability."

As governor, Jeb Bush has the "supreme executive power," and the constitutional duty, stated in Article IV, Section 1, to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," Kennedy said.

The governor, who is sworn to uphold the constitution, is obligated to safeguard this constitutional guarantee of the "inalienable right ... to enjoy and defend life," regardless of physical disability, he argued.

"The governor may not disregard that obligation even if a member of the judiciary has ordered otherwise," Kennedy said. "He is not bound by a court order that is at odds with a constitutional guarantee."

Kennedy cited Thomas Jefferson, who said, "[T]o consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy."

Abraham Lincoln, Kennedy pointed out, disregarded the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Dred Scott when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

"Governor Bush has tried patiently to work with the courts and the legislature but to no avail," Kennedy said. "Now, at the very last moment, he has a constitutional duty to protect Terri Schiavo’s 'inalienable right ... to enjoy and defend life.'"

After all the "praying, petitioning, and lobbying," it comes down to this, Kennedy said: "Jeb Bush must choose between the clear mandate of Florida's constitution and a judiciary which, in this case, has acted in defiance of that state supreme law."

(The rest of the article found here.)

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