Supreme Court Denies Schiavo Parents Appeal 6th Time

The U.S. Supreme Court last night denied Terri Schiavo’s parents appeal for the sixth time.

Schindlers lose ‘last meaningful legal appeal’ (CNN)

The lead attorney for Bob and Mary Schindler says they apparently have exhausted their “last meaningful legal appeal” in their desperate battle to have their brain-damaged daughter’s feeding tube reinserted. The U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday refused once again to hear an emergency appeal from the Schindlers, who are the parents of Terri Schiavo. Their attorney, David Gibbs, received word of the high court’s rejection during a news conference outside the Pinellas Park, Florida, hospice where Schiavo is receiving care. “It appears that that will be the last meaningful legal appeal unless something comes up, Gibbs said. “Fundamentally, the decision of the Florida courts will remain unchanged and the federal courts have declined to get involved.”


Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and could have ruled on the petition on his own, referred the appeal to the entire Supreme Court at 10:40 p.m. Wednesday. There was no breakdown of the vote, and the high court issued no explanation for its decision. The petition had been filed earlier in the night. It was the second time in a week the high court had refused to hear the case, and the sixth time since 2001.

The Schindlers “can know they have done everything possible under the law in letting government know that they wanted to fight for the life of their daughter,” Gibbs said.

In his Supreme Court filing, Gibbs and other lawyers for the parents wrote that removing the tube represented “an unconstitutional deprivation of Terri Schiavo’s constitutional right to life.” The Supreme Court’s rejection came hours after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, rejected the parents’ petition 9-2. That court denied three similar requests from the parents last week.

Six times this case has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s five more times than “enough.”

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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. Dave Schuler says:

    As of 8:55am CST Thursday morning ABC News is reporting that Terri Schiavo has died.