Schiavo parents file final appeal with Supreme Court

[JURIST] Lawyers for the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo filed a final appeal with the US Supreme Court Wednesday night after the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused an en banc rehearing of their case [JURIST report]. The emergency petition for stay [PDF text] pending hearing of a petition for certiorari appears to have been put together quickly and at times uses rhetoric that seems more appropriate for a revival meeting or a political rally than a legal plea:

A miraculous event occurred during the weekend after Terri’s feeding tube was removed which fundamentally alters the manner in which Terri’s claims are to be viewed by the federal courts when Congress, in a bi-partisan and dramatic fashion, thundered the message through P. L No. 109-3, that the United States of America must stand for life, accuracy, and fairness in the process afforded to an innocent, incapacitated woman.
In its more substantive parts the petition puts great emphasis on the new federal law:
On Sunday, March 20, 2005, the House and Senate convened in an
extraordinary, and unprecedented, Sunday session to pass a bill that expressly provides that there will be a full trial on the merits. It strains credulity to assert that Congress intended by this language to confer discretion on the trial court to destroy the jurisdiction created by the P. L. NO. 109-3by standing idly [sic] while Terri Schiavo starves and dehydrates pursuant to the order of a Florida court. Were that the Congressional intent, giving the Schindler family the right to seek review of that order would be little more than a cruel hoax... If Terri Schiavo dies, her federal claims become moot, and the entire exercise of Congressional authority under Article III s.1 and Amendment XIV s.5 – authorization of federal court review of her present condition and federal claims against the State of Florida – was a colossal waste of both Congress’ and this Court’s time.
The 44-page petition ends with more than a hint of legal desperation in the voice of Schindler attorney David Gibbs:
A woman is dying from dehydration and starvation. President Bush recognized this emergency situation where every minute counts by re-arranging his schedule to be in Washington D.C. immediately upon passage of this bill. We would respectfully request that this Court honor the good and noble intentions of the U.S. Congress and the personal sacrifice of the President with the same commitment to save life. I implore this Court to move immediately to save the life of Terri Schiavo upon the passage of this law, even if that occurs later today or at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning. A tragedy of unbelievable proportions would occur if the Act is passed into law and this Court does not respond in time to save Terri Schiavo’s life.

I plead with you to move immediately on this matter. It is expected that Terri Schiavo’s innocent life will be placed in the hands of this most honorable Court. On behalf of her parents, we respectfully plea for the life of their daughter whom they love more than life itself.
The petition goes to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the justice responsible for emergency appeals coming from the Eleventh Circuit, who may choose to consider it himself or refer it to the full court. Legal observers consider it highly unlikely that the court will intervene at this stage, although its previous refusals to look at the case took place before Congress passed legislation authorizing federal review. AP has more.


 

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