WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2004 LAWFUEL -Best for law, law news, legal news, law research Arguments in the controversial legal
battle over disconnecting Theresa Schiavo’s artificial means to sustain life
will be heard before the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday, August 31. Jenner
& Block Partners Thomas J. Perrelli and Robert M. Portman, Associate Iris E.
Bennett and former Associate Nicole Berner, along with other attorneys at
Jenner & Block, helped develop the legal arguments and write the legal briefs
for the legal team representing Mrs. Schiavo’s husband, Michael Schiavo.
The highly publicized case has centered around a law that permitted
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to issue a stay of a court order to remove the feeding
tube from Mrs. Schiavo, who has been in a persistent vegetative state for the
last 14 years. After the Florida courts determined that Mrs. Schiavo wanted
to be removed from the artificial measures sustaining her life and she was
removed from a feeding tube, the Florida legislature passed a law giving the
governor the power to compel the surgical reinsertion of the feeding tube.
The legal team subsequently brought suit to invalidate that law as a
violation of the right to privacy, as well as the separation of powers. A
Florida trial court struck down the statute earlier this spring, and the
Florida Supreme Court accepted a direct appeal on an expedited basis.
On June 16, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear the case — arguing
the case before the Justices with Mr. Perrelli’s assistance will be George
Felos, a Dunedin, Fla.-based attorney.