11th Circuit Rejects Schiavo Parents’ Appeal Fourth Time

The 11th Circuit, after raising their hopes at the 11th hour, has once again rejected the appeal of Terri Schiavo’s parents.

Schiavo Appeal Rejected Again in Atlanta (AP)

With time running out for Terri Schiavo, a federal appeals court Wednesday rejected her parents’ latest attempt to get the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube reconnected. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to consider an emergency bid by Bob and Mary Schindler for a new hearing in their case, raising a flicker of hope for the parents after a series of setbacks in the case. But the court rejected the bid 15 hours later the fourth time since last week the court ruled against the Schindlers. “Any further action by our court or the district court would be improper,” wrote Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who was appointed by former President Bush. “While the members of her family and the members of Congress have acted in a way that is both fervent and sincere, the time has come for dispassionate discharge of duty.”

Birch went on to scold President Bush and Congress for their attempts to intervene in the judicial process, by saying: “In resolving the Schiavo controversy, it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, 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 our Constitution.”

As those who’ve followed my commentary on this case know, I agree one hundred percent. At the same time, raising Terri Schiavo’s parents’ hopes at this stage only to dash them yet again seems incredibly cruel.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MattL says:

    11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear their appeal because they believe in following the rule of law. If the Schinlders and their legal counsel had a sufficient argument that “might” open a new avenue to them, the court had to make sure that the T’s and I’s were crossed and dotted. When they did review it the court found no new or additional information in their filings. The only ones who are being cruel and unreasonable are the Schindlers by not taking no for an answer and playing the media and the loons with half-backed ideas and thoughts to continue this circus. Since the Schindlers are supposed to be so Christian, why are they fighting like fiends to not allow Terri to go with God?

  2. bryan says:

    That’s crap, MattL. The court didn’t have to allow this appeal at all. The SCOTUS doesn’t seem to have a problem rejecting appeals. The 11th circuit does it all the time. They KNEW there wasn’t anything they were going to see that would change their mind. In fact, I’d bet a main reason they did this was so they could take an extra pot shot at the other two branches of government.

    It’s sick, and to suggest that they were “dotting i’s and crossing t’s” is to ignore reality.

  3. zeno says:

    Read the opinion. It is essentially a well deserved toongue lashing of the Congress and the President for violating the basic articles of the Articles of Constitution.
    Thank gon for a conservative judgement to get the Feds out of oour lives.

  4. wavemaker says:

    Brian, if your read is correct, I for one have no problem with the appellate court taking a pot shot at Congress.