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Federal Appeals Court Denies Request for Rehearing in Schiavo Case

Aired March 30, 2005 - 15:29   ET


Candy, you've got an interview with the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who met with the governor and state legislators down there.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: We do, indeed, Carol. We will obviously be following up with him about this decision out of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

We want to continue, though, now with the conversation about the legalities of this, about where it may go from here. I am joined by Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University here in Washington.

Every time we think it's over something else comes up. Are there -- is there another route here?

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, when it comes to this type of litigation, necessity is the mother of invention. And we're really seeing that here.

You have the Schindlers trying, as they must, every possible angle. And this is not a surprising decision. There was more made out of the earlier decision than should have been.

What the court did was they said, we know that you are past the deadline for submitting this type of filing, but we're going to go ahead and consider it anyway. And I think what the court was trying to say those people who are with the Schindlers on this issue, we're going to look at all the merits, we're not going to cut you off. But ultimately, it was extremely unlikely that after a 10-2 ruling against the Schindlers, they would win this type of filing.

CROWLEY: Can this decision go up?

TURLEY: It definitely can go up. They can try and appeal to the Supreme Court. But that's highly unlikely.

Really, what was being raised here is in some ways a rehash of earlier issues. That is, they were saying that there is evidence that this was -- that the wishes of Terri really are not being honored here, that they did not have this conversation as previously been referenced by Michael Schiavo. But I think that at this point, the courts have decided that the legal merits have been decided long ago and that really Michael Schiavo is, indeed, the person who will make the decision. CROWLEY: Now, there didn't seem to be -- we waited what we thought was a while before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals came out with this rejection. Is there within the court somewhat of a notice of what's going on outside? Do they know that they need to be seen -- I mean, we all said they're going to turn it down, they're going to turn it down, and yet they took so long to do what we knew they would do. Why is that?

TURLEY: Well, first of all, courts are not political, but judges are. I mean, judges live in neighborhoods, they have neighbors, they have TVs, they have newspapers. And so I think part of the waiving of this rule was a recognition of this judges that they wanted to show that the doors of this courthouse remained open in these final hours or final days.

But I think in that sense, they are aware of what is happening. And they're trying, I think, to at least assuage people that the courts are considering issues that are coming up in these final hours.

They do this a lot with death penalty cases, emergency rulings. They look at issues. But on the merits they've always been consistent.

You have to remember that there have been, if you include the Supreme Court, about 23 federal judges that have now looked at this since Congress acted. And 21 of them have ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo's position.

CROWLEY: I want to bring our Jeffrey Toobin in, a CNN legal analyst.

And Jeffrey, sort of move this to -- I think what has sort of stunned all of us is that there are so many appeals in this case. Is this unusual and we're only just seeing it because it's such a public case? Does this go on every day with other cases?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: No, it doesn't go on every day. I think Jonathan's right.

The closest analogy, and unfortunately it's a grim one, is in death penalty litigation, where there are, you know, last-minute stays sought over and over again on the slightest -- the slightest legal basis just because the consequences are so great. The Schindlers obviously feel they're in a comparable situation, where Terri's death will -- you know, will moot any further efforts. So they want to keep filing things. But, you know, they are increasingly out of options, even though they may still file more lawsuits and more court papers.

CROWLEY: Jeffrey, hang on with us a minute, because we want to go back to Atlanta, outside the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, where we have our reporter there and want to -- Rick Sanchez.

We want to ask you, Rick, you have in your hands, I think, the paper. Have you learned anything more about this ruling?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As a matter of fact, I have, Candy. And I think one of the things that really stands out as you begin to read this -- it's 30-some pages, and I haven't had a chance to go through all of it yet, but it appears as if this particular court, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, is somewhat firing back at some of the criticism that's been leveled at them, they say, this document by society, especially the term "activist judges." In fact, I'll read you a little bit of this.

They say a popular epithet directed by some members of society, including some members of Congress towards the judiciary, involves a denunciation of activist judges. And here's where they hammer back, Candy. I'll read this part to you.

They go on to then essentially criticize the legislative branch and the administrative branch of the United States, essentially the White House, Congress and the Senate. They say, "The legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people."

They say, "The time has come for dispassionate discharge of this duty. And while the member of her family" -- referring to the Schindlers -- "and the members of Congress have all acted in a way that is both fervent and sincere, the time has come once again for dispassionate discharge of the duty."

This is Circuit Judge Birch. He is one who filed such legal opinion. And, of course, it comes attached with a motion -- or with the response saying motion denied to what the lawyers of Bob and Mary Schindler were asking for.

So it seems that what we're looking at here, Candy, is not only the fact they've denied the motion, but they've done so with comment, and with comment that seems to be, well, a response to what many have said about the "judges" in this country. And also firing back a lance, if you will, at the U.S. legislature -- U.S. Congress, I should say, and the administrative branch as well.

Candy, back to you.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Rick. I want to give you some time to read more through that document and see what else you can find.

Let me turn back to Jonathan Turley. And we have Jeffrey Toobin on the phone.

I am reminded that Congress was very critical of the courts for not taking this up and for being -- you know, when they first started to get the "no" rulings, some members of Congress were quite critical. This seems to be firing back. It sounds like the balance of power is struggling.

TURLEY: Well, indeed, this is what the framers anticipated. We have three branches that are jealous of each other's powers. They always have been. And sometimes they fight.

We rarely have seen a case like this where Congress has intervened in an individual family case. I was counsel on the last time, the Elizabeth Morgan Act, and, in fact, we succeeded in that litigation. And that was found unconstitutional. At so what the court here is saying...

CROWLEY: I'm sorry. Let me just ask you to hang on a minute, Jonathan. We want to go to a news conference outside the hospice. This is the family doctor.

DR. JAY CARPENTER, SCHINDLER FAMILY DOCTOR: My name is Jay Carpenter, and I'm an internist.

QUESTION: Where are you an internist, please?

CARPENTER: I'm an internist here in Clearwater, Florida. I actually examined Terri several years ago, and just recently spoke to family members and others that have recently seen her regarding her medical condition.

I heard this morning that some doctor made a statement that it would be futile and even probably -- possibly harmful to try to rehydrate Terri at this point. To me, that is -- it is just this, it is just speculation, and that's a highly irresponsible statement to make.

The fact of the matter is, we don't know if it's too late. It may be too late, but then again it may not.

There are no studies about -- directed at dehydrating somebody for 14, 13, 14 days, and then rehydrating them to see what percentage of people make it. Such a study would be unethical. The only information we do have is from...

CROWLEY: Again, that was Dr. Jay Carpenter. He is a family doctor for the parents of Terri Schiavo. Once again, making the point, as the father of Terri Schiavo did earlier today, that she is not in a condition, as far as they are concerned, where she could not come back to her previous state were she to get the feeding tube. Again, obviously very sensitive on the point being made.

I want to bring in Bob Franken, who is down there at this news conference. Bob, it does seem to me they have heard some of this chatter that has been going on about what Terri Schiavo's condition is likely to be, and have been quite sensitive to that, and did, in fact, put two people in front of the microphones today to push back very hard on that.

FRANKEN: Well, as a matter of fact, you just heard an internist was making his comments on that at the behest of the family. The blood relatives, the ones who are fighting so hard, are very worried that everybody else is going to give up, they're going to give it up as a lost cause.

So they fight furiously to say every chance they can that when they see Terri Schiavo, that she is still hanging on, that it is not too late, comments made just a short while ago by her father.

CROWLEY: Bob, thanks very much.

We want to go back to Dr. Jay Carpenter, again, the family doctor, holding a news conference outside the hospice.

CARPENTER: Specifically as to what?

QUESTION: Some of the analogies they've made whereas that her head was thrown up against a door.

CARPENTER: Well, I cant speculate as to whether or not the analogies are correct. The fact of the matter is Terri is not in a persistent vegetative state. She doesn't even meet the statute. And that's the other thing that is a true travesty here, that this person is going to be put to death and this is a judicial injustice.


CARPENTER: All right. I'll tell you. Because she's not in PVS.

Number one, she -- she responds to people to this moment. As of two hours ago, when her family members went in, she responded. She looked around. She responded to her environment.

She has been given in the past -- in one occasion of 30 days, she was given 20 -- 20 times she was administered morphine. Well, in a PVS you do not feel pain. If you can't feel pain -- if you are in a PVS you can't feel pain. Then tell me why nurses gave her morphine.

QUESTION: Have you examined her?

CARPENTER: As I said my last examination was several years ago.

QUESTION: How many years ago?

CARPENTER: I think it was about three, but I'm not exactly sure.

QUESTION: Mr. Carpenter, there was a comment just made recently on the reason of her movements. They were -- they were comparing that to a program that these -- some computer people came up with on how robots -- what do you believe about that story?

CARPENTER: OK. I think those are bogus. And here's the problem.

They're at least suspect. The people that were asked to comment, the neurologists who were asked to comment about her, and have said that she's in a persistent vegetative state, the ones that actually did examine her, are known pro-euthanasia doctors.

In the first -- what you should all know, in the first trial, the family members, Terri's parents, did not have any funds. The lawyer they were given was -- it was her first case. She had not one doctor to testify as to the -- Terri's medical condition.

Mr. Felos had four pro-euthanasia doctors. So in the first case, where it was found by the judge that this person was in a persistent vegetative state, there was no defense.

In the subsequent trial where this was brought into question again, the family members were allowed to pick two doctors. Terri's -- the -- Mr. Felos was allowed to pick two doctors. He had two pro- death doctors. And the third was picked by Judge Greer, who has had it in his heart to kill this woman from the beginning.

So by a vote of 3-2, we are going to put this woman to death. Tell me that's beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: When was the last time that you examined her?

QUESTION: Generally speaking, this much time having passed, would there be some irreparable damage?

CARPENTER: Well, the question was, with this much time having passed, would there be some irreparable damage? Again, we don't know. We just don't know.

We don't -- the only one I know of -- the only person I know of that's gone this long is Terry Adamson (ph). Eight days and she recovered.

So the bottom line is we do not know it. It's speculation. But given the travesty that's occurred in this case, we ought to give her the benefit of the doubt and try to revive her.

QUESTION: Would dialysis...

CROWLEY: Once again, that was Dr. Jay Carpenter. He is a doctor speaking on behalf of Terri Schiavo's parents. Basically making their arguments, number one, that she still could be put back in the state she was before they took out the feeding tube, that she has not deteriorated to the point that that wouldn't help. And number two, that she is not, as the Schindlers have claimed all along, in a persistent vegetative state, although many doctors have found that she is.

We want to go back now to the legal machinations that have been going on here. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals have turned down the Schindlers' request for another hearing on this case.

Jeffrey Toobin, let me go back to you. And I know you've had a little time to kind of look at this court order. And what are your thoughts on it?

TOOBIN: Well, I just -- I would like to clarify something. The court order itself is just a single sentence by the 11 judges of the court of appeals for the 11th Circuit, where they simply deny the Schindlers' request to reopen the case.

There is an opinion of 30 pages by one of the judges, Judge Birch, who writes that, in his view, what Congress tried to do was unconstitutional. The law that was passed last week was -- shouldn't have been passed, shouldn't have been applied. But the entire court did not challenge the Congress. The entire court simply ruled that they're not going to reopen the case. It was only one judge who sort of took that shot across Congress and the president.

CROWLEY: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much for your input on this. I want to go back one last time to Jonathan Turley from George Washington University.

What do we read into this? This is just -- judges get angry. I mean, what do we make of this, and does it have any sort of long- lasting effect?

TURLEY: I think Judge birch is probably speaking for a number of members of the court. I mean, we've seen the federal judges pushed back before. The lower court judge, really, was quite clear that he would not be rushed.

And this goes against the grain of the judiciary, the intervention of Congress. And I think a lot of judges felt they were being given a sort of bum's rush to judgment. You know, members on the floor were saying rule the way we want you to rule.

Our system is designed to guarantee the type of independence to resist that political pressure. And, indeed, they have. And to some extent, as an institution they've even pushed back and said, this is the realm of the law. It's not the realm of passions or politics. It's the law.

And the law here is clear. It may be tragic in its consequences for the Schindlers -- and I'm sympathetic to their view in this case -- but the law itself is not fluid or unclear. It's been clear.

And the courts see no issue upon which they can rule in their favor. And that's not any desire on their part to dismiss the case, but to live within the realm of the law. And I think this court has said over and over again it's not a conservative issue, it's not a liberal issue, it is even a regrettable issue. But it's the way the law dictates the conclusion of this case.

CROWLEY: Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University, thank you so much for your insight on this.

Want to thank again our Jeffrey Toobin, CNN political -- CNN legal analyst.

We are going to take a break. When we come back, Jesse Jackson met today with Florida governor Jeb Bush, talking, of course, about this case. Jackson recently to the side of the Schindlers. We'll be back right after this.



We want to give you an update on the latest from the court system as regards to the case of Terri Schiavo. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected another attempt by her parents to get this case reheard in a higher court.

The Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the judges on it, then issued a rather lengthy statement, which is why we want to go to Kendall Coffey, who I understand you have had a chance to reread that, Kendall, you being a former U.S. attorney. Some remarks on activist judges and some fire back from this judge.

KENDALL COFFEY, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, Judge Birch wrote an extensive concurrent saying, one, activist judges are folks that put their personal views ahead of the law. And he's very clear in refuting any allegation that there is "judicial activism" here.

Secondly, he is the one judge and the only judge in all the federal court reviews we've seen in the past 10 days who has said that Congress went too far and violated the basic principle of separation of powers by intruding into a judicial matter.

There were two other opinions expressed in that extensive discussion by the federal appeals court in Atlanta, but for six of the judges it was simply the word "denied." And from the standpoint of the parents of Terri Schiavo, that means the door is closed once again.

CROWLEY: So let me ask you, how unusual is it to get this sort of comment from a judge? And what's the point of it?

COFFEY: Well, I think his point is very simply his own legal view of the matter. And I think he had written this question on separation of powers perhaps hoping that some of the other federal appeals court judges would sign on for the opinion.

Typically, when this happens, even on an emergency basis like this, all the other judges look at the different opinions that are circulating. Some of the others could have joined Judge Birch and said Congress went too far. Nobody did.

Two of the judges said basically the state courts did their job, we can't intervene. And as you know, there were two judges who dissented, who said there should be some kind of emergency re- establishment of nutrition, hydration. Those judges were judges Tjoflat and Wilson, who had also dissented last week when the entire 11th Circuit again had rejected the applications of the parents of Terri Schiavo.

CROWLEY: Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney, thanks for taking a look at that.

We want to go back to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals because outside is our Rick Sanchez, who has had time to look through some of those opinions and words that came from the other judges.

Rick, what can you tell us?

SANCHEZ: Yes, there were two. The final vote was 9-2, by the way. I don't know if we had a chance to talk about that as the story has evolved.

One judge was not in the proceeding today because of an illness. But the two dissenting judges, we talked a lot. And you just heard some of Kendall Coffey about Justice Birch and what he had to say, and some of his critical comments about both the Congress and the White House. But there are two other justices that seemed to agree that it may have been within the provisions of Congress to act in the way they did.

They also say, interestingly enough, Candy, that they would have grant temporary relief in this case to the Schindlers. And I'll read to you part of the dissent.

It says, "As long as this factor is present to some degree, it is not even necessary that a substantial likelihood of success be shown in this case. Whether the other factors are strong, a showing of some likelihood of success on the merits will justify temporary injunctive relief."

So it sounds like these two particular justices were willing to at least give the opportunity for the Schindlers to have some measure of lengthening this situation. Whether they would have specifically meant reinserting the feeding tube is maybe a question that would have been regarded later. Obviously it has not come to that point.

The other judge, I should also add to you, Candy, says that it is within the jurisdiction of Congress to act in this case. And they go on to explain that with somewhat complicated legal dicta.

So those are -- that's the essence from what we've been able to gather so far from these two dissenting judges in this 9-2 decision.

Candy, back to you.

CROWLEY: Rick Sanchez, lots of paperwork to go through. We will be back to you, I'm sure.

We want to move now and talk with Jack Valenti, a former aide to President Lyndon Johnson, who is here with me, and Ed Rollins, who is up in New York, a long-time Republican strategist.

Thank you both for being here.

Ed, let me ask you something. It does seem to me that the -- these judges -- this judge's words at least bring back the question of the overreach. Do you believe that Republicans in Congress and Washington overreached in this case and got in where they shouldn't have?

ED ROLLINS, GOP STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think it's going to affect them long term politically. I think this is a very emotional issue, and I think that a lot of Republicans and some Democrats obviously felt they had to take some action. Whether they should have or not I won't argue.

I think at this point in time all the legal remedies have been taken, all the legal opportunities have been taken. And I think it's best to get out of the circus environment and let this poor woman die in peace. And those that feel very strongly about her soul ought to pray for her to have a peaceful death.

CROWLEY: Jack, let me ask you, do you think -- I mean, in the business we call this legs. Is this a story that has ramifications, political ramifications down the line? Or is it a blip and we move on?

JACK VALENTI, FMR. AIDE TO PRESIDENT JOHNSON: I think it's a blip and we move on. I think that the tragedy of this is this has been made into a circus. It's kind of like entertainment, which I'm baffled by and I think a lot of people are troubled by.

This is an epic tragedy. I think my compassion, I think most people's goes out to the family -- to the Schindlers and to the husband, Mr. Schiavo. And there are no losers here. There are no winners either, for goodness sake.

It's just a terrible, terrible blip on humanity. And we're making -- we're making something out of it that it ought not be. This is a private matter between two groups, both of whom are severely distressed.

CROWLEY: Let me -- I want to play something for you, which is a new ad campaign that is that going up, put out by America's Future -- Campaign for America's Future. This is an ad specifically aimed at Tom DeLay, who, as you know, is one of the leading faces in the fight for Terri Schiavo, at least on Capitol Hill. Let me just play you a bit of that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'd like you to forget that two of his close associates have been indicted for money laundering. Tom DeLay can't wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress and one family's personal tragedy. But Congress can certainly wash its hands of Tom DeLay.


CROWLEY: OK. The key -- the key phrase here, "Tom DeLay can't wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress and one family's personal tragedy." Is this ad fair game?

VALENTI: I think...

ROLLINS: Go ahead, Jack.

VALENTI: I'm sorry. I think it goes pretty far.

I've never been one that believes in savage personal attacks like that. And I don't know what's in Tom DeLay's mind, but I suspect that he feels very strongly emotionally and probably his religious beliefs caused him to take the action that he did. Because I don't know, and I don't think anybody ought to take these kind of shots. CROWLEY: Ed, what do you think about the propriety of that ad?

ROLLINS: Well, I think -- you know, I think they're going to go after Tom DeLay on a variety of issues. And some are legitimate and some are not. But this one is not.

And I think at the end of the day, this is a man who had to make a choice with his own family about his own father. So it's a very personal thing to him. And I think to question whatever else is going on in his life and saying that this was purely an effort to get away from that is just dishonest.

CROWLEY: Ed Rollins, former -- long-time Republican strategist, still one, I know. Jack Valenti, former aide to President Lyndon Johnson. Thank you both so much.

We have much more ahead on the Terri Schiavo case and the politics surrounding it. We'll have the latest on the legal wranglings and on Schiavo's condition.

I will talk with the Schindler family's newest ally, the Reverend Jesse Jackson. And we'll find out which new twists in this case have grabbed the attention of bloggers.

Stay with us.


CROWLEY: Markets are closing on Wall Street so I am joined by Christine Romans in New York with "The Dobbs Report" -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon. A big rally on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones Industrials posting a triple-digit gain. Investors are reacting to some good news on the economy. The final trades are still being counted, but the Dow Jones Industrials up 137 points: 10, 542. The NASDAQ is 1.5% higher.

Also fueling those gains: a big drop in the price of oil. Crude fell nearly $2 earlier in the day. Well below $53 a barrel. Supply concerns eased. A government report showed a surprising jump in our country's oil inventories. Stockpiles last week were at the highest levels in three years.

More signs of strength for the economy. The latest reading of gross domestic product shows the economy grew at a solid annual rate of 4.4% last year. That was the best pace of growth since 1999, and it was partly fueled by big business. Corporate profits jumped 12.5% in the last quarter of 2004, the biggest increase in three years.

Insurance giant AIG is already facing multiple government investigations. Now it is telling its shareholders it will further delay filing its annual report. That's as the company looks into some controversial transactions it made with a unit of Berkshire Hathaway. Now we reported yesterday that Warren Buffett, the famed investor and chief of Berkshire Hathaway will be questioned by authorities about those transactions. Coming up on CNN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. Broken borders: A special report on so-called anchor babies. The 300,000 children each year who are born in this country to illegal aliens. Those children are automatic U.S. citizens, enabling the family to tap into our country's public benefits.


PETER SCHUCK, YALE LAW SCHOOL: At the margin, it certainly increases the desire of people to come here illegally because it creates a benefit for them if they have their child in the United States.


ROMANS: Also tonight, the Department of Homeland Security has launched its Arizona Border Control Initiative, sending 700 more agents to patrol the weakest part of our nation's border. We'll have a special report.

Also joining Lou tonight author Gary Orfield, who has written a book on the state of the U.S. education system. He will discuss why he believes many California schools are drop-out factories. Plus, Arizona State Representative Russell Pierce is fighting to make English the state's official language. He joins us tonight. That and more 6 Eastern tonight. Now back to Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Christine Romans. We appreciate it. Continuing now with INSIDE POLITICS. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has rejected an appeal by the parents of Terri Schiavo to rehear the case of their daughter. This may not be the end of the legal trail. There is a possibility, according to our experts, that the Schindlers could go to the Supreme Court.

But as it stands right now, this last-ditch appeal, or what we thought would be the last-ditch appeal, was rejected by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. There has also been activity outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo lays dying. We want to go to Bob Franken to get the latest on what is happening there. Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Candy, we heard just a few minutes ago from the man described as Terri Schiavo's doctor, Dr. Jerry Carpenter, Dr. Jeffrey Carpenter rather, who said that he did not believe that Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state based on an examination he had conducted.

But people on the other side would point out that that examination was done quite some time ago and that he is an internist. He is not an neurologist like those who have testified before the court. Nevertheless, it's part of a relentless campaign by the family to, in effect say, "Don't give up." It was a message that was carried by Bob Schindler, Terri Schiavo's father, shortly after he visited her in the hospice earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOB SCHINDLER, FATHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: Terri is still with us. She's -- under the circumstances she looks darn good, surprisingly good. And she is weak from the lack of food and hydration. But her skin tone is not -- is fine. She -- nothing is breaking down. We know some of her organs are still functioning.


FRANKEN: And with the legal possibilities almost going away, the last look seems to be at the State House, the state capitol in Tallahassee. Bob Schindler in effect was saying to the people there, don't give up, either.


SCHINDLER: We are asking that nobody throw in the towel as long as she is fighting. To keep, you know, fighting with her. Particularly anyone that is up in Tallahassee that's considering any kind of legislature. She could still come out of this thing. And they've got to help her.


FRANKEN: And in a few moments we'll be talking with Reverend Jesse Jackson -- scheduled to be here. He has spent the day in Tallahassee trying to get action going either by the governor or the state legislature. By all accounts from the sources we have there, Candy, he has not succeeded.

CROWLEY: I ask you -- just from looking at where you are right now, it looks a good deal quieter than we have seen it in the past. Has some of the protesting gone away, or what is happening there?

FRANKEN: Well, protesters normally are here after working hours. Over the weekend, of course, they had the opportunity to be here. The crowd usually swells a bit at night. There has been throughout a feeling that goes from anger to resignation back to slight flares of anger again. Right now there's a little bit of a lull. Often times there is a lot of noise as people play trumpets, other noises instruments associated with religion. So it sometimes quite frankly -- it looks festive here. But it is hardly festive.

CROWLEY: Bob Franken outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is being tended to. Thanks very much. As Bob mentioned we will have Jesse Jackson here to discuss both his meeting with Florida Governor Jeb Bush and to discuss the latest out of the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals. Now as the Schiavo story plays out in Florida we will consider the state's featured role in so many headline, hot button disputes. And when we go INSIDE THE BLOGS, the Schiavo case gives online pundits new ammunition against the mainstream media.


CROWLEY: The latest development we have in the case of Terri Schiavo is that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied her parents yet another appeal to save their daughter's life. Now as this case and some other major events have brought an unrelenting media spotlight to one part of the country, Bruce Morton takes a look now at some of the reasons Florida continues to be the center of attention.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like it or not, Americans in the other 49 states, this is the decade of Florida.


MORTON (voice-over): Well, of course it is. For openers, it's the state which decided the 2000 election. Most of us probably thought chads were something you ate. But it turned out the pesky things could hang instead. And with a little help from the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida elected a president. Just as well. They need federal help.

Natural disasters, Florida led. More hurricanes per square mile than any place. But they had a governor who had a brother in a high place and help was on the way.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And all those here in Florida in the thoughts and prayers of the American people.

MORTON: Social Security is a big issue this year and Florida has led the news about that, too. Plenty of older people live there, and that brother act's been on center stage again. Florida has had the other kind of big story, too. A pretty child murdered just eventually.

And five years ago, a famous little boy named Elian. His mother died trying to flee Cuba, but he lived. Relatives in Miami wanted to keep him. His father wanted his son back and came here to try to get him. Crowds gathered on Elian's front lawn, not so different from those other crowds in the past few days, and lawyers argued and judges sat and the then attorney general of the United States spoke some words, which echo today.

JANET RENO, FMR. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think it's important that we recognize that what is at stake here is a bond between a parent and his child.

MORTON: Elian went home to Cuba with his father, but those words remind us of the agony of these days. Is the husband Terri Schiavo's guardian or are her parents? If there's a person left inside the body, what would she want? Life or death? Hard questions for family and friends, impossible almost surely for strangers to answer.

And Florida, at center stage once more, probably wishes this latest event, with the world's eyes upon it, were happening somewhere else. It's Florida's decade, not always an easy or a happy one.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


CROWLEY: As we have been telling you, the Reverend Jesse Jackson met earlier with Florida governor Jeb Bush. We expect him to Jackson to join us live from outside Terri Schiavo's hospice shortly. The blogosphere is filled with commentary about the Schiavo case. We will find out what people are saying next when we check in with our blog reporters.


CROWLEY: Internet bloggers continue to weigh in on the Schiavo debate. Joining me to talk about today's chatter in the blogosphere are Cal Chamberlain and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter. Jacki, what's it reading like today?


The latest news that you just broke a little while ago about what's going on with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Terri Schiavo case, just now hitting the blogs. Over at Scared Monkeys, they say "Strike Three: 11th Circuit Court Rejects Schiavo Appeal," saying "it looks like the last flicker of hope has gone." Having a little trouble highlighting there.

Over at Liberty Files, an indication of how unoptimistic they were earlier in the day, or pessimistic, with regard to this information. I'm making up words now. They said, "Don't get too excited," when the news of this possible hearing came out. They said "Unless Terri could hold on for a month, the ruling seemed more than anything to be justice delayed to the point of tragedy."

On a lighter note, Mark Kleiman with a post that is making the rounds at this hour, saying that Nat Hentoff has joined the forces the Feed Terri bandwagon, includes Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Randall Terry, Rush Limbaugh, Bo Gritz, Sean Hannity and James Dobson. He says, "Get Alexander Cockburn and Al Sharpton onboard and we have a left-right coalition embodying the very cream of the nation's loud mouth, dim-witted, self-promoting busybodies".

CAL CHAMBERLAIN, CNN BLOG REPORTER: That's a pretty harsh criticism.

SCHECHNER: That's making the rounds.

CHAMBERLAIN: Yes. There's another story that's making -- getting a lot of links today and it's the Howard Kurtz piece that showed up in "The Washington Post" today, entitled "Doubts Raise on the Schiavo Memo." And the Schiavo memo was this memo that ABC News said they obtained, that was the GOP talking points that was passed out to the Republicans and then two days later, "The Washington Post" claimed the same thing. And...

SCHECHNER: Well, the blogs questioned it.

CHAMBERLAIN: Well, the problem with it was the credibility, they didn't claim authorship and they wouldn't give it out. And so the blogs wanted to know who wrote it and who authored it, and ABC said no way. So Howard Kurtz wrote an article and kind of explained what was going on with ABC and "The Washington Post."

And the Right Pundit is critical of the Kurtz article, saying, "what Kurtz doesn't mention are the two real questions of the day. Who authored the memo? What efforts are the Post and ABC News making to discover who authored the memo? If the memo is news-worthy because of what he said, it's important to know who wrote the memo." So their main gripe was that he didn't take the ball and roll with it and actually get the source of the GOP talking points memo that was alleged by ABC News.

SCHECHNER: Over at Amy Agora (ph), a mea culpa today issued by Joshua Clayborne (ph) over there. "Correction and Challenge" is his title. And he says that he posted something on Friday evening, based on an anonymous source, that it was actually a Democratic aide who had circulated this memo. And he says that in trying to figure out what the hoax was, he himself got hoaxed. So at the end of this long posting he says, "I publicly apologize for posting unfounded accusations," and says, "I hope ABC News and 'The Washington Post' follow my lead."

Now La Shawn Barber weighs in on this with a really interesting commentary that we found, saying "Blogger Gets Burned." And what she notes down here, if I can find it, is that editors are invaluable. She says," Journalists have the advantage over bloggers. If a reporter gets wind of a hot story, he's got to confirm it before it goes to press. Even if it's a mistake at that point, the editor takes part of the blame."

Michelle Malkin weighs in and La Shawn Barber has a little quote here saying "Clayborne (ph) was careless. He'd better hope that the Reid aide he accused of wrongdoing doesn't sue him for liable," noting that she won't go to press herself unless she can get an anonymous source independently confirmed from another source. And then at the bottom of this, La Shawn Barber says, "If bloggers want to be journalists, we strive to be better than journalist. Joshua retracted, but the so-called journalists have not." So ongoing discussion of bloggers v. journalists, which we've been talking about since the very beginning.

CHAMBERLAIN: Right. Another story that's getting a lot of links a today is a story out of Denver, "Post" says yesterday we learned that three Denver residents, Alex Young, Karen Bauer and Leslie Weise, were removed from a presidential event because they had a bumper sticker on the back of their car that said "No Blood for Oil." And they claimed that the Secret Service asked them to leave as they were sitting down. They were, you know, properly dressed, they weren't causing any trouble and were asked to leave.

So they and got a lawyer and the lawyers asked the Secret Service if that, indeed, was the case. And the Secret Service said, no, you know, we don't have any -- we're involved in protecting the president, not enforcing, you know, seating policy. And the blogosphere is up in arms over it, because they say that "it's as if Bush has taken the preemption foreign policy and applied it to public events. The White House could wait until people actually try to disrupt the presidential appearance, but why bother? Better take them out now and not take any chances."

SCHECHNER: Over at the American Street -- I don't want to get into details, because we're running out time, but it's an interesting read of what the Democrats could do to take advantage of the situation, Candy. They call them the Dumb-o-crats and they say that there are ways that they can now take advantage of this, not the very least finding out where the next one is, trying to show up, and then putting a preemptive lawsuit into action.

That's what's going on today in the blogosphere.

CROWLEY: Jacki Schechner, Cal Chamberlain, thanks so much. Straight ahead, the Reverend Jesse Jackson joins us live from Florida. He'll fill us in on his meeting today with Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Plus Congressman Kennedy makes his decision. We'll tell you if the Rhode Island Democrat is ready for the challenge of a Senate race in 2006.


CROWLEY: Checking our mid-week edition of "Political Bytes," Rhode Island Democrat Congressman Patrick Kennedy says he will not run for the Senate next year against incumbent Republican Lincoln Chafee. Kennedy says he can best serve his state by remaining in the House. His decision comes a day after his mother, Joan Kennedy, was found on a Boston street with a broken shoulder and concussion. Joan Kennedy has battled alcoholism for a number of years, and the congressman is seeking to become her permanent legal guardian.

The anti-tax group Club for Growth has launched at TV ad criticizing Republican Senator Lindsay Graham. The spot, which targets Graham's idea to raise the amount of income subject to Social Security taxes started running yesterday in Graham's home stand of South Carolina. The senator's spokesman responded to the ad by calling on all parties in the Social Security debate to defy, quote, "rigid ideology and special interest politics."

Vice President Cheney's openly gay daughter Mary has agreed to write a book about her experiences in politics and public life. Mary Cheney signed a deal with new division of Simon and Schuster headed by long-time Republican strategist Mary Matallin.

As we have been reporting, the Reverend Jesse Jackson has been lobbying Florida Governor Jeb Bush and state lawmakers hoping for some kind of 11th hour intervention to save Terri Schiavo's life. Just yesterday, Jackson got involved in the case at the request of the Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Jackson spoke in Tallahassee earlier today. We know we've been promising him live. We can get him on satellite; we just can't get him through the traffic.

Here's what he had to say earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: Well, let me say that this is a profound moral, ethical challenge for all of us. And the emotions are running high and understandably so, because we are watching a woman be starved and dehydrated to death. Somewhere in the gap, on the one hand, we have food and medicine. On the other hand, she needs food and medicine, and we will not give it to her.

The -- you cannot do this to animals, and it's illegal to do this to animals, to starve animals to death. Today, as divine intervention would have it, the pope is on a feeding tube. And no one is going to be tempted to remove his feeding tube. And they shouldn't.

I have been in cases, as a minister, where people had an advanced stage of cancer. And they had Demerol as a painkiller because they were hurting. And they slipped into a coma. And then maybe even more Demerol. And at some point, their pulse began to go down -- my sister-in-law just last year, and another friend a few months ago. And that time, we pulled the tube, and within minutes, they died. And you close your eyes, and you pray.

In this case, they pulled all the tubes. Now we are hearing law without mercy. must inform law to bring about justice. It is merciless to simply wait until she dies by denying her food and water. And while I appreciate the governor's appeals for emergency medical assistance, Mrs. Schindler's appeal last night was so compelling as a mother.

I can understand as a father, and as a minister the husband's crisis and his pain. It is a very difficult decision on Michael. But then to just decide to give her back to her parents would cut through all the politics and all the court appeal, if he just made that one moral decision to respond to the mother's appeal, then at least the parents would have the satisfaction they would have done the best that they could have done. I mean, time is running out because dehydration is setting in. But we have some moral obligation to do the best that we can.

The last thing I would say, that those who embraced Terri so much as a person, do not reduce her to an end all symbol of (INAUDIBLE). It raises a bigger issue...

CROWLEY: I want to interrupt this now because we are blessed of an age where you can almost always get someone on the telephone. We do have Reverend Jesse Jackson on the phone now. Reverend Jackson, thanks for being here.

I want to -- I guess you know that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has, in fact, rejected the Schindlers request to reopen their daughter's case. Does there come a time, speaking as a minister and speaking as a friend of the Schindlers, where one says enough is enough? And has that time come?

JACKSON: Well, the doors certainly are closing. Governor Jeb Bush has two appeals to the appellate court to offer medical emergency assistance. That door has been closed. The (INAUDIBLE) will not reopen their appeal. So of course, that door is closed. Michael Schiavo will not give permission for her to have the feeding tube and water. So the doors are closing. The hour is getting late. The parents must deal with the fate that they are facing with their faith.

CROWLEY: Reverend Jackson, I notice that you've said several times since going down there that this is one of the greatest moral and ethical issues of our time. There have been very few Democrats that we have seen publicly coming out and talking like this. A, what has been the reaction to you? And B, where are the Democrats on this issue?

JACKSON: Well, I do not know. I do not have a running tab on them, except I know that often when people die, it is beyond our control. It's fate that often gives us a cruel blow. In this sense, that's one the one hand, we have food and water. On the other hand, Terri needs food and water, and we will not work to supply it to her. And therefore, she is dying from lack of sustenance -- lack of food and lack of water. And that is to me morally disgraceful, unjustifiable.

Even today, the pope has a feeding tube. Thank God for science. So he's been able to be sustained through a feeding tube. So whether it is the pope as he struggles to live and to serve, or whether it is Terri Schiavo, the real issues are being raised here now, frankly, about long-term medical care and survival.

CROWLEY: Reverend Jesse Jackson, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.

That is it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Candy Crowley. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


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