Appeals court won't rehear Schiavo case

Next stop: The U.S. Supreme Court.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 23, 2005 9:00PM (EST)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has just rejected a request by Terri Schiavo's parents to have the decision reached this morning by a three-judge panel of 11th Circuit judges reconsidered by the entire court.

The 11th Circuit would have reheard the case en banc if a majority of its 12 active judges voted to do so. Thus, it's clear from the court's ruling that Schiavo's parents were unable to persuade seven judges to side with them. What's not immediately clear is how many judges they did win over -- or which ones.

Only two of the 12 active judges wrote dissents from the decision not to rehear the case. One was Judge Charles Wilson, the Clinton appointee who dissented from this morning's 2-1 decision denying the parents' request for a temporary restraining order that would require the re-insertion of Schiavo's feeding tube. The other was Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, who was appointed to the appeals court in 1975 by Gerald R. Ford. In his dissent, Tjoflat argued that, even if Congress had not mentioned the prospect of injunctive relief in the Schiavo legislation, the federal courts would have had the authority to issue a TRO on behalf of Schiavo's parents under the All Writs Act.

Having now exhausted their options before the 11th Circuit, Schiavo's parents will presumably ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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