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Gov. Bush appeals to Supreme Court on Schiavo case

Attorneys argue 14th Amendment was violated


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Terri Schiavo has been in what doctors call a persistent vegetative state for 14 years.
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Attorneys for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to become involved in the ongoing case of a brain damaged woman, Terri Schiavo.

A legal appeal by the state was filed with the court Wednesday, calling on the justices to accept the case for review.

Schiavo's husband, Michael, has been trying to have a feeding tube keeping his wife alive disconnected. Her parents contend their daughter would not have wanted the system disconnected and have been fighting to see that it stays in.

The two sides have been involved in more than a decade of litigation.

The Republican governor became involved in the legal battle last year, when the Florida Legislature passed a measure, referred to as "Terri's Law," that allowed Bush to replace the feeding tube after a court order had it removed.

In September the Florida Supreme Court found Terri's Law to be unconstitutional because it violated separation of powers. (Full story)

On Wednesday, Bush's attorneys argued the U.S. Supreme Court should hear the case because, they said, the Florida high court misapplied the separation-of-powers principle, violating the governor's and his ward's due process and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment.

"It has taken our nation many years to make good on its commitment to equal justice for persons with profound cognitive disabilities," wrote attorneys for Bush.

"Unless the State of Florida retains the power to protect the rights of its most vulnerable citizens to due process and equal protection under the laws, the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees will apply only to those who are capable of defending them on their own."

The Supreme Court may not decide whether to take the case for several weeks at least. If it accepts it, oral arguments would be scheduled, and a ruling would not be expected for a number of months.

The case is Bush v. Michael Schiavo (guardian for Theresa Schiavo).

CNN's Kim Segal and John Zarrella contributed to this report.


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