TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court (news - web sites) on Thursday struck down a law that was rushed through the Legislature last fall to keep a severely brain-damaged woman hooked up to a feeding tube against her husband's wishes.
The unanimous court said the law that kept Terri Schiavo alive violated the separation of powers between the judicial branch and the legislative and executive branches.
Lower courts had ruled that Michael Schiavo could have the tube removed, but the Legislature passed the law to overrule the courts. Gov. Jeb Bush then used the law to order the tube reinserted. The court's decision came just a weeks after oral arguments.
Terri Schiavo, who lives in a Clearwater nursing home, can breathe on her own but relies on a feeding and hydration tube to live. Courts have concluded she is in a "persistent vegetative state," but maneuvering over her fate has produced a closely watched right-to-die fight.
The 40-year-old woman left no written instructions before suffering brain damage when her heart stopped beating 14 years ago. But in Florida a person's wishes must be honored even if they are expressed orally.
Schiavo's parents disagree with their son-in-law about her wishes, insisting their daughter wanted to live and could be helped with therapy. Courts have generally sided with Michael Schiavo, but parents Bob and Mary Schindler have won stays that have kept their daughter alive.
This is great because he (Jeb) pretty much just overrode what this woman wanted and said, "hmm..no, I don't think you should die, so keep the tube. later."
I really hope that this family can finally get some closure.