Schiavo’s Parents Appeal to 11th Circuit

As expected, the Schindlers have appealed Judge Whittemore’s refusal to order Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted to the 11th Circuit. They will lose there, too. They will then petition the U.S. Supreme Court, which will quite like deny their appeal on the grounds that they have no interesting legal issues of national significance.

Schiavo’s Parents Appeal Judge’s Ruling (AP)

The notice of appeal was filed electronically hours later with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by David Gibbs III, an attorney for Terri Schiavo’s parents. The notice tells the court that the full appeal will follow. That court was already considering an appeal on whether Terri Schiavo’s right to due process had been violated.

One wonders how many passes through the court system are required to satisfy the “due process” argument.

(1742): Schiavo’s Parents Beg Court to Act Quickly (AP)

Warning that Terri Schiavo was “fading quickly” and might die at any moment, her parents begged a federal appeals court Tuesday to order the severely brain-damaged woman’s feeding tube reinserted. David Gibbs III, attorney for parents Bob and Mary Schindler, told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta that the 41-year-old woman might die before they could get a chance to fully argue their case that her rights are being violated. The appeal came after a federal judge in Tampa rejected the parents’ emergency request. “Where, as here, death is imminent, it is hard to imagine more critical and exigent circumstances,” Gibbs said in the appeal filed electronically with the court. “Terri is fading quickly and her parents reasonably fear that her death is imminent.”

There was no immediate indication of when the appeals court might rule.

This has been a federal issue for a little over 36 hours. They’ve already gotten a detailed written opinion from a federal judge and filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit. This is moving extraordinarily fast.

That said, this is a situation that calls for all deliberate speed. I’d be surprised if we haven’t heard from the 11th Circuit by tomorrow.

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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. Anderson says:

    They will *probably* lose at the 11th Circuit, but much depends on the lottery: which 3 panel judges will they get? And if they get a 2-1 panel to favor, at least, continued review (i.e., tubes back in), will the entire circuit take it up en banc? Not likely, fwiw.

  2. NEAL says:

    Typical liberalism – give even death row inmates more consideration than a disabled person!

  3. Larry Beezhold says:

    I first must commend the judge upholding the decesion made by the Florida courts.This case has been heard so many times,on so many levels,every time finding for Teri’s husband. I happen to live just blocks from the Hospice where Teri has lived for years,and the only time you see the crouds is when the cameras are there.
    This last hour grandstanding by the government certainly has backfired on them.It is certain they thought the majority was for stepping in,and I am sure the votes were like Diamonds flashing in their eyes. But all the polls show by a large margin for the government to stay out,and her husband to have the final say. Even Bush is so hypocritical,having passed a law while the Gov. This law allowed the hospital to pull the feeding tube in patients like Teri,if that patient was unable to pay the bill!
    Just 2 years ago our family was in this situation. My mother fell, and was in the same state Teri is in.Trust me, Teri will never be more than a shell.She is not living,she only exists.Those responses you see took hour,upon hour of wave the balloon,yell,hope she looks. Over and over,hundreds,if not thousands of times until she finally looked,then that’s the clip they show. It’s a joke,and I am ashamed the legislative branch has ripped our rights right out from under us.The 11th better not step in and stop the process that has finally got a chance to allow Teri to be out of that shell, and be with God.

  4. TnTexas says:

    This law allowed the hospital to pull the feeding tube in patients like Teri,if that patient was unable to pay the bill!

    I’m assuming the law you’re talking about is the 1999 Advanced Directives Act. If so, the bill appears to say nothing about the patient’s financial status. (You can find the text of the bill here and here.)

  5. Mike Stiber says:

    I’m assuming the law you’re talking about is the 1999 Advanced Directives Act. If so, the bill appears to say nothing about the patient’s financial status.

    The Texas law, as amended in 1999 and 2003, has the effect of taking into account the financial status of the patient by giving the hospital the authority to remove life support if another facility cannot be found (within 10 days) to take over care. Wealthy people will have no problem finding such a place; the poor will almost invariably be unable to.

    Saying that the law has nothing to do with finances is akin to saying that literacy tests for voters had nothing to do with racism.

    Note that the general assertion is not that the Texas law is wrong, but that Bush and the neocons are being hypocritical for endorsing removal of support in one case and opposing it in another. To correct myself, actually, they’re accused of much worse — of not caring in either case, merely using the white woman for political ends because they didn’t think the black baby would be sympathetic enough to their core constituency.

  6. Sandra Mangold says:

    Dear Sir,
    I do not mean to be disrespectful, but I am very concerned about why no one will help Terri Schiavo in her time of desperate need. She is a human being who could very well have been your daughter. Would you have made the same decision? What will happen to the other sickly people in the U.S. will you also put us to death as well? How can you choose the choice of her husband over her family, when the husband is wanting to remarry and has been abusive to her. I’m sorry, but we the people of the U. S. who voted you in office, do not understand why you have made this unjust decision. I pray that our Heavenly Father will have mercy on your soul when your day comes. Again I do not mean to be disrespectful to you. I just do not understand.