HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Behind-the Scenes Lobbying Effort on Behalf of Terri Schiavo

This morning's Miami Herald has an interesting story on the efforts of Gov. Jeb Bush (disappointed by the state legislature's inability to enact a law that would provide further legal support for Terri Schiavo's parents) to enlist the aid of Sen. Mel Martinez and conservative political groups:

''I'm not sure we can get it done here in Florida,'' Martinez quoted Bush as saying just after a new Schiavo measure stalled in the Florida Legislature.  "Do whatever you can federally." * * *

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Friday evening that they were disappointed with Friday's court decisions allowing the feeding tube to be removed, and they vowed to work through the weekend to prolong Schiavo's life.

The dizzying flurry of congressional activity is largely a response to a relentless push by conservative Christian groups -- using e-mail ''action alerts'' and persistent lobbying -- and the personal involvement of Frist and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

''I've never seen anything like this in Congress over an individual case,'' said Jayd Henricks, lobbyist for the Family Research Council, one of the groups battling to keep Schiavo alive by challenging state court orders.

The congressional strategy of House subpoenas and Senate "invitations" to testify didn't deter the trial judge or the physicians and administrators, and late Friday, the Supreme Court denied the House Committee on Government Reform's request for a stay (reported in the press but not yet posted to the Court's on-line 'Orders and Journal' page).  [tm]

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