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ACLJ Filing Brief with Florida Supreme Court in Support of `Terri's Law' on Behalf of Terri Schiavo's Parents.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The American Center for Law and Justice, specializing in constitutional law, said it is filing today an amicus brief with the Florida Supreme Court in defense of "Terri's Law," the emergency Florida legislation that saved Terri Schiavo, a disabled woman, from death by dehydration and starvation. The ACLJ's amicus brief on behalf of Mary and Robert Schindler - Terri Schiavo's parents - asks the state's highest court in Bush v. Schiavo to reverse a lower court ruling that struck down "Terri's Law" as unconstitutional.

The ACLJ's filing comes just days after the ACLJ asked the Florida Second District Court of Appeal to reconsider its decision rejecting a request by the Schindlers to intervene directly into the case in defense of "Terri's Law."

"Since Terri's parents have been disallowed from intervening in this case, it was important for us to file an amicus brief on their behalf in support of the constitutionality of 'Terri's Law,'" said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which represents the Schindlers in the case. "Our arguments are clear: the lower court ignored Florida law in declaring 'Terri's Law' unconstitutional. Without question, the legislature and the Governor acted properly and constitutionally in protecting the life of Terri Schiavo, and we are hopeful the Florida Supreme Court will not remove the only measure that is keeping Terri alive."

The friend-of-the-court brief, which is posted online at www.aclj.org, states: "A central issue in this case is whether Terri Schiavo would choose, with full knowledge of the current circumstances, to refuse necessary food and fluids by tube. Regardless of what Terri might supposedly have chosen years ago, she retains the right under Florida law to change her mind. What Terri 'would have' done today is a question of fact that cannot be resolved on the pleadings. Hence, the order granting summary judgment without discovery or trial must be reversed."

The brief also contends that the legislature and Governor did not violate the constitution by passing and enacting "Terri's Law" - which permitted the Governor to restore feeding and hydration tubes to Terri after a Florida trial court ordered them removed. According to the brief: "The Act allows for the restoration and maintenance of the status quo ante while the authorities stop and look both ways before sliding Terri across the intersection of no return."

The ACLJ has been working to get the Schindlers permission to intervene directly into the case. Last Friday, the ACLJ filed a motion with the Second District Court of Appeal asking the court to reconsider its June 30th decision affirming a lower court order which denied the Schindlers' motion to intervene in the case.

St. Petersburg attorney Patricia Fields Anderson serves as ACLJ local counsel in the litigation over "Terri's Law." Anderson represents Terri's parents in all other matters regarding Terri Schiavo.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which specializes in constitutional law and the protection of human life, is based in Washington, D.C. and its website address is www.aclj.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 15, 2004
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