Plea for Schiavo Denied

From Associated Press

The Supreme Court on Wednesday once again refused to order Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted, dealing another blow to her parents’ attempts to keep their severely brain-damaged daughter alive.

The decision, announced in a one-sentence order, was the sixth time since 2000 that the court declined to intervene in the case. Justices did not explain their decision and there was no indication how they voted.

Earlier in the day, the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to intervene in the case. That decision was notable for the comments by Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who issued a scathing attack on the White House and lawmakers over their role in the case.


The judge said that the politicians “have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers’ blueprint for the governance of a free people -- our Constitution.”

“Any further action by our court or the district court would be improper,” said Birch, appointed by President Bush’s father. “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.”

The high court action was the second time in a week that the justices have refused to reinsert the tube. On March 24 the court denied the parents’ emergency request based on similar claims that husband Michael Schiavo did not have her consent to remove the tube.

The feeding tube that has been keeping Schiavo alive at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., was removed March 18. Doctors at the time said that unless it was reinserted she likely would die within two weeks.

The high court’s decision is the latest in a string of losses in state and federal courts for parents Bob and Mary Schindler, who say their 41-year-old daughter faces an unjust and imminent death.

The latest emergency request argued that the federal courts didn’t consider whether there was enough “clear and convincing” evidence that Schiavo would have chosen to die in her current condition.