Running out of running room

The save-Terri forces run out of options.
Update: Or not.

The 11th Circuit refused an en banc rehearing of its panel’s decision upholding the district court’s refusal of a TRO to reinsert Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. All that’s left now is the Supreme Court, and I don’t know anyone who knows the Court who thinks they’ll take it.

The Florida Senate rejected, 21-18,. a bill that would have required that the tube be reinserted. Apparently, several Republicans actually spoke (and presumably voted) as conservatives, rather than relgious radicals.

Judge Greer has apparently rejected an extraordinary appeal by the Florida Department of Children and Families to take custody of Terri Schiavo on the grounds that she is the victim of abuse. That’s not really surprising, since Judge Greer, having made Schiavo a ward of the court, is himself her guardian. If, threfore, he must have been the one abusing her. Presumably that decision will be appealed to the same courts that have upheld Judge Greer in the past.

What else is there? I suppose Jeb could tell the Florida National Guard to fly her to the Vatican, which could accept her as a political refugee. Short of that, I think this sorry episode is just about over.

Update: Spoke too fast. Apparently, in addition to the appeal the the Supreme Court, there’s a new filing in the district court, making claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act, among others.

Meanwhile, my first email from Focus on the Family reports that the save-Terri forces have now whomped up a new batch of spousal abuse charges against Michael Schiavo (well, I suppose that’s one way to focus on a family). Apparently the Governor has created a new “Adult Task Force” within the Florida Department of Children and Families, and that task force is considering taking custody of Terri Schiavo, without any reference to the courts.

(This seems to be a different version of the story I referenced earlier about an application to Judge Greer by Florida DCF. Which version is correct, your deponent saith not. Here’s an account from the Tampa Trib, which reports that DCF officials think they can take custody of someone in danger after application to a court, but without waiting for the court to act. And the Palm Beach Post tells the same tale. Moreover, the text of the law being cited seems to allow such a process, if one ignores the bizarre feature that Terri Schiavo is precisely where a court has placed her. A later story from the Orlando Sentinel seems to resolve the difference in accounts: at a press conference this morning Gov. Bush threatened to have DCF take custody, and Judge Greer on the application of Michael Schiavo’s attorney enjoined DCF, were it to do so, from reconnecting the feeding tube.)

Since this whole process is being played out under the rules of Calvinball, it’s hard to guess what comes next. Could Jeb Bush have DCF take Schiavo out of state before the petition can be ruled on, and convince the judge in the new state to award custody to the parents?

At least Congress isn’t still in session. Otherwise, Florida DCF could take temporary custody and then move Schiavo to Washington in response to a Congressional subpoena.

Silly me for thinking this might be over.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com