PINELLAS PARK, Fla. With time running out for Terri Schiavo, a federal appeals court today 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, Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr. wrote. 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.
To be granted, the parents request would have needed the support of seven of the court s 12 judges. The court did not disclose the vote breakdown.
The Schindlers visited their daughter this morning at her hospice and urged their supporters to keep trying.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw, Bob Schindler said. So she s still fighting, and we ll keep fighting.
We know that some of her organs are still functioning. ... It s not too late, he said.
In requesting a new hearing, the Schindlers argued that a federal judge in Tampa should have considered the entire state court record and not whether previous Florida court rulings met legal standards under state law.
The Schindlers motion also said the federal appellate court in Atlanta didn t consider whether there was enough clear and convincing evidence that Terri Schiavo would have chosen to die in her current condition.
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