HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

11th Circuit Denies Schindlers' Request for Emergency

A 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided this morning, by a 2-1 vote, that they would not overrule the order of District Judge James Whittemore denying the parents of Terri Schiavo an injunction to reinsert her feeding tube.  (The opinion is here -- the download from the Court's overloaded web server takes a very long time.  FindLaw, which is an increasingly invaluable resource for primary documents, has it here -- much faster than the court's site.)

As reported by the Associated Press:

In a 2-1 ruling early Wednesday, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said the parents "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims" that Terri's feeding tube should be reinserted immediately.

"There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo," the ruling said. "We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children. However, we are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law."

In his dissent, Judge Charles R. Wilson said Schiavo's "imminent" death would end the case before it could be fully considered. "In fact, I fail to see any harm in reinserting the feeding tube," he wrote.

Twice rejected by the federal courts since Congress' enactment of extraordinary legislation last weekend, the Schindlers are now going to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has refused their request for emergency interventions 3 times before (Bloomberg News).  [tm]

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