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Radio interview
Alan Keyes on the Mark Larson Show
March 28, 2005

MARK LARSON, HOST: Help me interpret this. George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, came out and said, "Well, OK, the Schindlers aren't saying anything about Terri's condition, but I'm going to say something." First, he comes out and says that he had visited Terri today, for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and then said, "Let me clear up something in this morphine issue," that the morphine, you know, she's not on a morphine drip, and there were two instances where they gave her the lowest available does of morphine. This would be on March 19th, and again on the 26th, which would be last Saturday. And they gave it to her in a suppository manner, and then he described, "Well, there was a tensing of the muscles and some moaning."

You know, hello? Could this be tied to Terri's will to live, even in her semi-vegetative state?

And so you know, by the way, Michael Schiavo will now go along with an autopsy before cremation, because they want to show the world what the brain is really like. And then he kind of danced around some of the questions with regard to whether this would be a full autopsy where you could look into the questions of bone fractures and these other allegations. I mean, this is just more sick by the moment. On the one hand, he's saying, "Well, I just saw Terri, and her eyes are a little more sunken." Yes, that's because you're starving her! That's because she's dehydrating! That's because the judges are aiding and abetting! Testing . . . hello? What part of this don't you get?!

The whole thing is just even more sick than it was last week. And the question now is, what can be done, when you've run the course, you keep bouncing back to judges like Whittemore and George Greer--a little county judge basically saying, "OK, I'm bigger than the federal government!"

Well, Alan Keyes is here. Ambassador Keyes joins us on our news line. You're on KOGO. Hello?

KEYES: Hello?

LARSON: There you are. Yes, have you been watching this Felos commentary in the last couple of minutes?

KEYES: I actually didn't see it specifically, no. My wife came in and told me what he had said.

LARSON: In fact, he's still going on here. Let's bring up a little bit. He's doing a little Q and A. Let's see if we can get some other gems from him.

GEORGE FELOS, ATTORNEY: I don't know this for sure, but I would presume that, of course, any family members that are not present at the time would be notified before there is any public announcement whatsoever.

LARSON: He's talking about when she finally expires.

FELOS: After that, I had received a call from a member of the Associated Press asking me to call them, and they said it would be put on the newswire. I don't know if that's a fair way to do it. Otherwise, I was just . . .

LARSON: OK. He's into just, "here's what we're going to do once we announce that she has died"-mode. There's a strange disconnect here. We were just talking about this during the break. My producer Monica came and she said, "It's so weird, because here they are aiding and abetting killing her off, and then when he holds these press conferences"--this Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo--"the discussion is, 'Let's tell you how well she's doing under the circumstances.'" It's a weird disconnect.

KEYES: Yeah, I think part of the problem is that they have tried to present this as if it's somehow a right-to-die thing, when in point of fact they are killing her. She's not dying of natural causes. She is being killed by the withholding of nourishment that would kill you if somebody did it, or me, or anybody else on this earth, regardless of our state of health.

She is a severely disabled person, otherwise in good health, who was living until they decided to withhold nutrition and starve her to death. It's basically judicially-mandated, and assisted, murder.

And I use the word murder advisedly, because that is "killing, contrary to law." The highest law in Florida is the constitution of Florida. And that constitution guarantees to all natural persons the right to enjoy and defend their lives. That's a basic right, and it's an inalienable right. They specifically used that word. And that word means that it can't be given away or transferred, by law, to another.

And what Judge Greer has done is transfer her right to life to Michael Schiavo, her husband, and that violates the constitution of Florida at the highest level.

Now, Jeb Bush, who is the chief executive officer of Florida--

LARSON: Right.

KEYES: The Florida constitution gives him the supreme executive authority. That means there is no higher ability, on the part of the state government, to take action.

LARSON: So you mean that Judge Greer, the county judge, can't trump the governor?!

KEYES: No, he can't. A matter of fact, the county judge can have his opinion, but he actually has, under the Florida state constitution, no ultimate authority to put that opinion into action. And if he tells a county sheriff to resist the governor, the judge is in insurrection. He is using armed force against the power designated by the constitution of Florida, which is in the hands of the governor.

The judge has no power whatsoever to order executive action, contrary to the will of the governor. And if the governor comes to the decision, which he says he has, that this is an injustice, that it's being done contrary to the constitution, he is bound by oath to stop it. And if he doesn't do his duty, he is in dereliction of duty, and by succumbing to the judge, he is also impairing the authority of his high office. Which means that on two counts, he is in dereliction of duty.

LARSON: We're talking to Ambassador Alan Keyes here live in Southern California and across America on, on KOGO Newsradio 600, KOGO.

Now, on Friday, we had reports, and some of this came out over the Easter weekend, that there was a move, the governor, Jeb Bush, was going to go in there and seize Terri. And then somehow, the buzz got out, and a local county sheriff again said, "Well, you can't do that," and they backed down. Did that happen? What's going on with that?

KEYES: I saw that on Knight-Ridder news service. I don't know beyond that whether it was accurate or not. If accurate, it is definite proof that the governor actually backed down before the inferior authority of the sheriff--meaning to say that he did act in derogation of his duly-constituted authority, under the Florida state constitution.

That, by the way, is serious harm. Because if you let every judge in this country feel that he can use force to defend his opinion, then every case potentially becomes a case of insurrection. And that's going to lead to serious disorder. That's why there is a separation of powers in our government, so that judges cannot automatically put their judgments into effect.

LARSON: Now, this puts Governor Bush and the President and Congress into a bit of a pickle, to say the least, here. This is going to be a very difficult situation, which, if they don't do something, I mean the risks are, all of a sudden you become fodder for the Left to say, "OK, let's impeach Bush." Or whatever they plan to do. Although, they didn't do that when the Elian Gonzalez came up. That was "just fine" under a different administration. But if they don't do something, it makes it appear that this was all political. Correct?

KEYES: Well, see, the sad truth is, I think that Jeb Bush needs to understand, step number one, the talk of impeaching him if he acts is crazy--because if Jeb Bush acts, he is acting under existing law in Florida. The existing law in Florida is Terri's Law. And I know there are people who say, "Well, the Supreme Court said it's unconstitutional." But the Supreme Court doesn't make law in Florida. It simply has an opinion about a law that has been made.

If the executive doesn't agree with that opinion, but goes along with the legislature, because by passing it, the legislature is declaring its judgment that it is constitutional, he's not acting unlawfully. He's acting according to the law, and using his judgment of the constitution to guide his use of executive authority. And that is quite properly within the boundaries of his discretion, to go along with the legislature instead of the judiciary.

LARSON: Do you think it has been helpful, or a little bit hurting the cause, for Randall Terry to be the spokesperson for the Schindlers at this point? Because, I got a lot of buzz--in fact, I heard from people, good, pro-life people, at church over the weekend, for example, who said, you know, "What's the deal with Randall Terry?" because sometimes he's been a little "out there."

Has that helped or hindered the case?

KEYES: Well, I think that Randall is a wonderful guy who has been there with the Schindlers for a long, long, time--and, in fact, I think helped put together the effort that got Terri's Law originally. He, like a lot of people, feels very strongly and deeply about this. You and I--I, at least--can sympathize with this. I feel deeply, myself.

But we have, a lot of us, stepped in to help, because we know that the arguments need to be made in a very clear fashion, based on both history, logic, precedent, the opinions of the Founders and other things. That's what I and others have tried to put together, in order to make the case cogently, not only for Terri's constitutional rights, but as to Governor Bush's responsibilities in this case. And I hope we have done so.

LARSON: Alan Keyes with us. Alan, hang on one second here on KOGO. We're live with Alan Keyes. Mark Larson, here on KOGO. Let's go to Florida, Pinellas Park, again, where now the sister of Terri Schiavo, this would be Suzanne, is speaking, obviously prompted by Felos coming out. They weren't going to make family comments, but she's talking.

SUZANNE VITADAMO: . . . please help me. So, she's fighting. She's struggling. Does this sound like somebody that wants to die? I don't think so.

LARSON: All right. She made a comment before coming on about facial expressions, as if Terri was making these, you know, "help me, please" looks. And of course, it's very, very tough. And you know, you here Barney Frank and people saying, "Oh, this is very sad." Yeah, it is. And it's sad because some good people are doing nothing.

KEYES: What I don't quite understand, though--in point of fact, we have a situation here where a lot of people who are supporting Michael Schiavo are saying, "Well, would anybody want to be in her condition," and so forth. They are expressing prejudices against her, because of her physical condition, because she is a severely disabled person.

And I would think we had gotten beyond the point in this country where we allow someone to be discriminated against to the point of taking their lives, because of their physical appearance and condition. That was true with the racial prejudice. That's true with other kinds of prejudice. You don't get to do that in America anymore! Except we are watching it happen right now, as a result of a prejudice and extreme sanction being implemented because of a prejudice against a severely disabled person.

LARSON: All right. Ambassador Keyes here on KOGO. You know, a lot of conservative scholars are saying, "You know, you can't just go in there and just seize her," and despite the compelling case that you make--and we've heard certainly a lot of this over the weekend--you know, [they say,] "You would set a precedent. And other administrations nationally could use this to come back in and do things we don't even imagine." It sounds like a great political way just to sort of song and dance.

KEYES: I don't understand what they are talking about. If the Constitution allows this [executive action]--and it does, by the way--do you know why the executive has this kind of authority? To meet emergencies. So that, if the country is being attacked, if someone is being done to death, you don't have to wait on a court or a judge. You go in and you take care of the situation, to defend the country, defend order, defend constitutional integrity. That's why the executive was put in the hands of one person, rather than a deliberative body. And that, because you need to be able to act expeditiously to meet the circumstances.

The notion that this would be some sort of abused power is crazy. The legislature has the power to call the governor to account, to remove him from office, if they believe his action is misconduct. But in this case, he is carrying out their will--so they surely couldn't accuse him of misconduct.

LARSON: Absolutely. Well, time is ticking here. I mean, every time we turn around, another day has gone by. And that was one of the most, I think, irritating situations on Friday, when Greer has this telephone conference about this time on Friday, and says, "OK, I'll get back to you tomorrow by noon, eastern," and another day goes by. We're moving into, what, day eleven now. Obviously, Terri is fighting. But this can't go on forever. That's what is so macabre about this.

KEYES: Well, see, I think the sister just made the cogent point that a lot people who have been, I think, careless about this in their thinking need to think about. If this lady wants to die, why is she hanging on to life with such grim determination? The evidence, again, raises a serious doubt about whether the determination of fact in this case was made with proper respect for reasonable doubt. There is a reasonable doubt about whether or not this in fact is her will. Leave aside every other issue. And that reasonable doubt should be enough to say, "No, we can't kill her," the same way it is in court. If you want to pass sentence on somebody who has committed murder, the jury can't convict them if there is a reasonable doubt.

LARSON: Well, we're going to pray that reason prevails, and something is done here, because the time is running out, and the options are narrowing. And, of course, you can't keep bouncing back to these same judges.

KEYES: Well, see, this is one of the things--because we have a singular executive, action ultimately becomes, in an extreme situation, the responsibility of one person. And that one person, in this case in Florida, is Jeb Bush. There is no escaping it. He faces the responsibility--and it's a moral principle, as well. He says he's a Catholic. Well, Thomas Aquinas, the great Catholic theologian, said that if a judge makes a decision that contains an excusable error, the person charged with executing that decision should not do so. It is immoral to do so.

We applied that to the Nazis at Nuremburg. We know it's the principle of decent conscience. He is violating it now, and he needs to stop and take action.

LARSON: All right. Alan Keyes, good to talk to you. Appreciate the update.

KEYES: Thank you.

LARSON: And we'll keep praying for a better result here, and I hope soon. Thanks much.

KEYES: Bye-bye.

LARSON: Alan Keyes with us here on KOGO, Newsradio 600, KOGO.

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