11th Circuit Rejects Schiavo Appeal Yet Again

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied, for the second time today, the appeal of Terri Schiavo’s parents. This time, they voted against hearing the case en banc on an expedited basis. Given that the case will have been rendered moot by the time the case would come under normal timetable, that leaves the U.S. Supreme Court as the final judicial venue.

Appeals court rejects Schaivo plea (AP) [WaPo version]

For the second time in less than a day, a federal appeals court Wednesday rejected a bid by Terri Schiavo’s parents to have her feeding tube re-inserted. Florida lawmakers, meanwhile, debated another last-ditch effort to prolong her life. In a 10-2 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused Bob and Mary Schindler’s request for an “expedited rehearing” by the full court. A three-judge panel from the court ruled against the family earlier Wednesday.

The court did not immediately give an explanation for its decision. The parents have vowed to take their fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has refused to get involved previously.

Meanwhile, the politicians are trying again:

In Tallahassee, the state capital, Governor Jeb Bush renewed his call for the legislature to “spare Terri’s life.” A legislator said Wednesday was the Senate’s last chance to pass a bill to keep Schiavo alive. Senator Daniel Webster was scrambling to secure votes to pass a bill that would prohibit patients like Schiavo from being denied food and water if they didn’t express their wishes in writing. A similar measure brought last week by Mr. Webster was defeated 21-16.

Senate Democratic Leader Les Miller said the new bill faced a similar fate to one that was pushed through in 2003 to reconnect the tube six days after it was removed. “By the time the ink is dry on the Governor’s signature, it will be declared unconstitutional, just like it was before,” Mr. Miller said. “So I don’t see anything or any language that can persuade my vote.”

Miller is almost certainly correct. The U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say. The odds are, though, it will simply deny cert.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Toni says:

    Bob and Mary,

    I am really sorry about what you are going through. I am very physical disabled too. I was supposed to be a vegetable too, but my parents refused to give up. I am very glad that they didn’t. I enjoy living. I think Terry is amazing. I can tell she is very aware of what is going on just by watching her on TV. I wish I could be there with you. I will be praying for you and Terry.

    Love, Toni