Schiavo Case Filed in Federal Court

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore, who was nominated to the court in 1999 by President Clinton, will now decide the fate of Terri Schiavo.

Fate of Terri Schiavo Rests With Judge (AP)

The parents of Terri Schiavo asked a judge to reinsert the brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube Monday, following an extraordinary political fight that consumed both chambers of Congress and prompted the president to rush back to the White House. An attorney for Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, arrived at federal district court in Tampa and filed a request for an emergency injunction to keep their daughter fed. When the attorney, David Gibbs II, was asked if he had any indication when the judge would rule on the request, he said: “I have no way to know, just that it’s in the hands of the court.”

It was assigned to U.S. District Judge James Whittemore, who was nominated to the court in 1999 by President Clinton. Gibbs said the judge sent a message that he would call the Schindlers’ lawyers back to court once he completed a review of the filings in the case. Whittemore’s staff was not available for comment early Monday morning.

One imagines Whittemore will make a preliminary ruling within hours, given the urgency created by Schiavo’s condition.

(1045): Reuters reports that the judge has ordered a hearing for 3 this afternoon.

(1353): The 11th Circuit has declined to step in before Whittemore makes his ruling.

An attorney for Schiavo’s parents filed an emergency injunction that asks Judge Whittemore to order that the feeding tube that keeps Schiavo alive be reinserted. It was removed Friday after an order by a state court judge.

It’s unclear what the rationale would have been for appealing a ruling before it had been heard in the court of original jurisdiction.

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. karen lovette says:

    Thou shall not kill……..Don’t play God.
    Let Terri live…..she has the right to life!!!!
    Could you starve your child????

    She is a living Soul and she is her for a purpose.

  2. JoAnn Hubach says:

    If the U.S. allows this to happen, who is next? Me? You? This is a heinous crime. God help our country lawmakers and courts!

  3. Ronald A. Messore says:

    It is understood in management science that a good leader uses facts, data, logic and empathy in the decision-making process. This is particularly true in the field of jurisprudence. Our Judges and our Courts have evolved to making decisions only on facts, data and logic. Empathy for individuals and families is dissolving before our very eyes.