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Radio interview
Alan Keyes on Joseph Farah's WorldNetDaily Radioactive
March 29, 2005

JOSEPH FARAH, HOST: We've got with us a special guest. Alan Keyes is back with us--diplomat, author, talk show host, brilliant orator, statesman, constitutional scholar. And his organization the Declaration Foundation can be accessed on the web at Declaration.net. Welcome to the program, Alan.

KEYES: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

FARAH: Well, you've got another great essay in WorldNetDaily today on this Terri Schiavo case. And in it you say that Florida Governor Jeb Bush is courting dereliction of duty. Tell us what you mean.

KEYES: Well, he has two responsibilities. One, to the Constitutional rights of Terri Schiavo, as clear and specific in the Florida Constitution, which states that she has the inalienable right--every natural person in Florida has the inalienable right--to enjoy and defend their life. And that, of course, is being violated.

Now, inalienable is very important in that phrase, because it has an undisputed meaning throughout our history. It means it can't be given away, and it can't be transferred to another by law. Now, Judge Greer has, in fact, transferred Terri Schiavo's right to life to her husband, Michael Schiavo, and in doing so has violated the clear and explicit language of the Florida constitution.

Jeb Bush, therefore, by his oath to protect, support, and defend the Florida constitution, is obliged to act to stop this damage to the constitution, this violation of rights. He's also now giving the impression that, some how or another, the governor of the state must submit to a county sheriff, if that county sheriff is ordered by a judge to do x, y, and z. That is a lie.

The constitution of Florida vests supreme executive power--that is, the highest executive authority--in the governor. No judge, no law, can create a higher executive authority than the governor, so nobody can say, "No," to him. The county sheriff cannot, if he goes to help Terri Schiavo, say, "No," because he is a lower authority--not by order of a judge or by order of any statute or law, but by order of the supreme law of Florida, which is the constitution.

If he does not do his duty and he pleads the judge's order, he has actually damaged the executive power in Florida, which has been entrusted to his hands. And by damaging it, he damages the constitution--and, therefore, derogates from his own authority and fails to do his duty.

So, on two counts, he is guilty of dereliction of duty if he does not act, and it is actually impeachable. When a governor does not do what the constitution and his oath require him to do, and as a result, the rights of an individual are damaged beyond repair, because she'll be dead, and his own authority as governor is damaged--not to mention that fact that the legislative authority has been impaired--then I think it's clear that he has failed to do his duty.

FARAH: You know, the interesting thing, Alan, is that Jeb Bush, Governor Jeb Bush in Florida, has shown really from the beginning in this case that he understands what's the right thing to do. He fought for Terri's Law. He told us just days before that hearing with Judge Greer late last week that his office had the power and the authority and the responsibility to rescue Terri Schiavo. He hinted that he was going to do it, and if we're to believe the press reports on what happened, he sent a few state law enforcement officers down there, and at the first sign of resistance by the county sheriffs, he told them to back off.

KEYES: Well, you see, that, I think, is even more damaging than anything, because if he leaves the impression that the governor has kowtowed to some county sheriff, he does immeasurable harm to the Florida constitution, to the authority of the governor, to peace and order, because, at the end of the day, the guarantee against civil disorder in Florida--where some sheriff or other authority would abuse his power--is that the governor will stop him.

And if he doesn't obey the governor, and takes arms, and the governor does nothing, he gives the impression that the government of Florida can no longer defend itself. And that, obviously, is a very dangerous impression to be giving at any time about any level of our government in this country, especially at the state and national level.

So, I think he is courting disaster here. He is the governor of Florida, one of the most important states in the union. He is setting a precedent that would be powerfully damaging to the public perception of gubernatorial authority throughout the country.

And I think that in addition to the fact that he has a moral obligation to protect the rights of Terri Schiavo and not to permit her judicial murder--the same one we would all recognize if a lynching was taking place across the street from the state house. Nobody would argue that he should sit there and watch somebody hang, even if by order of a racist judge, as happened in the past in this country, as we know.

Nobody would say that he should sit on his hands and let an innocent person be killed because he is afraid to do his duty. And that is what it amounts to here: the impression that is being given. And I think he needs to act decisively, in order to correct this impression--for Terri's sake, but also for the sake of constitutional self-government in America.

FARAH: Alan Keyes, you felt so strongly about this that you traveled down to Florida in an attempt to meet face to face with Governor Bush. What happened? Did you make any headway in meetings with his top officials?

KEYES: I tried my best. I met with his deputy chief of staff, eventually. I was not able to see his legal counsel. Though, Larry Klayman did see him, and Bill Greene did see him--or her, rather. It's a her in this case--Raquel Rodriquez. [They] did see her.

But Florida's constitution is actually very clear, both about the fact that the governor is the supreme executive authority. And, in Article 2, Section 3, it's very clear about the fact that the branches cannot exercise the authority of another branch.

So, the judge can have his opinion, but he cannot command executive force to put that opinion into force. That's the exclusively prerogative of the executive. If the judge, then, against the governor, tries to employ force, he's actually in insurrection. It's a judicial insurrection, and it's a very dangerous moment.

FARAH: We've all seen interviews with Jeb Bush on television and heard them on radio. He sounds like a genuinely conflicted man. He seems like a man who wants to do something and feels that he's being held back. What would have happened, in your humble opinion, if Jeb Bush didn't just dispatch some law enforcement officers from the state down to Pinellas County to rescue Terri, but actually went with them, in person, to meet face to face with the Pinellas County sheriff and explain the situation?

KEYES: I think that there would have been no doubt--the Pinellas County sheriff knows good and well that his authority does not trump the governor's authority, and that if he resists the governor's authority or tries to stop the governor, lay hands on his person or anything else, he can be arrested, he even be shot dead on the spot, because to move against the governor is to move against the government of Florida. It is basically an insurrectionary act, because in his person the governor represents the executive power of government. He is the only government authority, who, in his person, represents the power of a whole branch of government.

So, in that sense of the word, there is no doubt about what would have happened. The sheriff would have stepped aside, and would step aside right now. That's the whole point. And, if somebody is telling Jeb Bush something else, then it is because they are ignorant. They do not understand the constitutional situation, and they are giving him incompetent advice.

But I will say this, I went down to Florida precisely because I thought he needed to have the best possible arguments, the best possible advice, and even though I tried at several occasions, he apparently didn't want to hear this advice. So, I'm kinda sad about that, because if he wants to do the right thing, I have provided chapter and verse with extreme clarity, an argument that cannot, I think, be refuted in terms of his clear constitutional obligation and authority in this situation.

And not only did I do it in a brief article, so that everybody who had a few minutes could see the outline of it--in depth, as you know, on WorldNetDaily, I have published a background that goes chapter and verse into the constitutional arguments both in principle and in fact that buttress this case, and I think it's very clear.

It is also true, by the way, that from a point of view of politics, somebody suggested, "Well, they might impeach him." The legislature is the court that judges the governor, not the judiciary. His court where he is tried for misconduct and charged with misconduct is not the judges, not the supreme court of Florida. It's the legislature. And he is carrying out the legislature's will as, expressed in Terri's Law.

Now, some people say, "Well, the courts struck that down." No, they didn't strike it down. They refused to apply it.

But if the governor looks at it, and says, "No. This is constitutional, and I MUST apply it," then he is carrying out the will of the legislature--and together, the governor and the legislature trump the judiciary. The judiciary is not the supreme branch of government. It is an equal branch of government. It has a say, but it cannot have the ultimate say, or we would have a government that was no longer constitutional.

FARAH: You would think, with all the time that this case has occupied with the Florida State Legislature, the Supreme Court, the Governor, the U.S. Congress, the whole 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court, that Jeb Bush would have taken a little bit of time to head that posse that went down to Pinellas County, just so that there would be no confusion. And for the life of me, I can't understand why he didn't do it. That would have been an act of leadership by the governor of Florida.

KEYES: I must say, and I say it in my little piece, Ronald Reagan would have done that. You and I both know it.

FARAH: Yep.

KEYES: Reagan would have seen this situation, he would have understood it, and he would have gone in person to make sure that it was done according to the Constitution, according to his gubernatorial authority, according to constitutional right and justice. And I think that is, I guess, the measure of the man, because these kinds of situations are the test. They show an individual in terms of that ultimate character that is needed to really stand with courage and conviction and strength in a way that will preserve our constitutional integrity.

FARAH: Alan Keyes, thanks so much for being with us. We'll be back with more after this.

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