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.”
Similar arguments were brought to Florida’s capital this morning by former Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes.
Klayman, a candidate last year for the U.S. Senate from Florida, believes that since Bush “is the supreme executive power of the state of Florida, he has the right and duty to step in and, in effect, pardon Terri Schaivo from the death sentence that has been unduly placed upon her by the court system.”
Keyes wrote a column published this morning by WorldNetDaily, arguing for Bush to step in and save Schiavo amid judicial abuse of the separation of powers.
Yesterday, religious and political groups banded together to urge Gov. Bush and his brother, President Bush, to use their executive powers to order police to take Terri Schiavo into protective custody.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said that by requesting permission from Judge Greer, Bush appears to have limited his options.
“By going to the court you set yourself up for a difficult problem, because if Jeb Bush were to send in the police now, he would set up the risk for contempt of court,” Sekulow said in an interview on the Sean Hannity radio show today.
Sekulow said that while sympathetic, as an officer of the court, he could not advise Bush to defy the judge.
Schindler family spokesman Randall Terry, however, who also was on the phone with Hannity, contended Bush does have statutory authority.
“The question is, can a judge tell a governor he can’t obey the law,” the pro-life activist said. “The law allows the DCF to intervene. Even by asking [whether or not a judge should be defied] we are playing into the hands of judicial tyrants … .”
Editor’s note: WorldNetDaily has been reporting on the Terri Schiavo story since 2002 – far longer than any other national news organization – and exposing the many troubling, scandalous, and possibly criminal, aspects of the case that to this day rarely surface in news reports. Read WorldNetDaily’s unparalleled, in-depth coverage of the life-and-death fight over Terri Schiavo, including over 150 original stories and columns.