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Governor Bush seeks Schiavo rehearing

State's high court said he didn't have power to intervene in case


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Terri Schiavo has been in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state for 14 years.
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(CNN) -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush filed a motion for rehearing Monday in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman whose husband has sought to allow her to die.

Schiavo, 40, has been hospitalized in a persistent vegetative state since 1990, when her heart stopped temporarily, the result of a potassium imbalance.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, has been in a battle with her parents over whether she should be allowed to die as he contends she would have wanted.

Although Terri breathes on her own, she cannot swallow. He wants her feeding tube removed.

Doctors who have testified on behalf of Michael Schiavo said they hold out no hope that his wife will recover.

Mary and Robert Schindler have maintained their daughter could be helped with therapy.

Last fall, after years of litigation and appeals, Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed. But six days later the Florida Legislature, in emergency session, passed a law that affected only her, giving Governor Bush the power to intervene in the case. The governor ordered the feeding tube reinserted.

Last month, Florida's Supreme Court upheld a decision by a lower court that the law giving the governor the power to keep Schiavo on the feeing tube was unconstitutional.

The court's decisions "have long-term, far-reaching consequences for all Floridians," Bush said in a written statement released Monday. "For this reason, we have asked the court for clarification of its recent ruling."

Bush added that the Florida Legislature "has passed numerous laws giving governors broad discretion in specific circumstances. The court's ruling could call those laws into question, and may limit the legislature's ability to govern. We have asked the court for clarification to protect current laws and ensure state government can continue to serve Floridians effectively.

"The court ruled the law unconstitutional based on separation of powers. While this separation is critical to our system of government, it should not be allowed to deprive anyone, including governors and lawmakers, of the right to due process under state and federal law. The court's ruling appears to violate these rights, and we have asked for a rehearing on those grounds."

Mary Schindler contends that, aside from her condition, her daughter is "happy and healthy."

"I would take her home with me right now and take care of her for the rest of my life," her mother said last month on CNN's "Larry King Live." Schiavo is in a hospice in Clearwater, Florida. (Full story)

In a previous interview, Michael Schiavo said his wife told him when she was 25 that she would not want to be kept alive artificially. He said he's just carrying out her wishes.

Attorneys for the Schindlers contend that any such expression cannot be verified because it was not in writing.


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