Nominee for Kansas appeals court encouraged ‘forcible resistance’ in Terri Schiavo case

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Caleb Stegall.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s nominee for the Kansas Court of Appeals encouraged “forcible resistance” to try to save the life of Terri Schiavo.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Caleb Stegall, Brownback’s chief counsel, was an editor of an online Christian magazine called The New Pantagruel in 2005 when the courts ordered the removal of Schiavo’s life support. The brain-damaged Florida woman had been at the center of a national debate over the right to die.

“It now appears that all legal recourse to save Terri’s life has failed,” Stegall and his colleagues said in an editorial statement. “As Terri’s family and millions of people know, the State is wrong. There is a higher law.

“If last-ditch efforts in the Florida Legislature and the United States Congress also fail, and the administration of Governor Jeb Bush fails in its duty to uphold the higher law, those closest to Terri_her family, friends, and members of their communities of care_are morally free to contemplate and take extra-legal action as they deem it necessary to save Terri’s life, up to and including forcible resistance to the State’s coercive and unjust implementation of Terri’s death by starvation,” the statement said.

Stegall, 41, is Brownback’s first pick for the Kansas Court of Appeals under a new law that removed a nominating commission from the selection process.

Brownback’s administration has described Stegall as the most qualified candidate for the newly created judgeship, and Stegall submitted hundreds of pages of documents to a Senate committee. The papers included endorsement letters from a bipartisan group of attorneys and magazine articles, online columns and even book reviews Stegall has written.

The submitted information shows Stegall as a conservative, Christian, abortion opponent and an outspoken critic of liberalism and what he sees as the increasing influence of modern culture.

The statement about Schiavo, who died about two weeks after it was published, was not included in those documents.

Brownback’s office has declined to let reporters ask questions of Stegall.