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U.S. Supreme Court denies Schindlers

Parents lose bid to reinsert daughter's feeding tube

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The U.S. Supreme Court again refuses to hear parents' appeal.

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• History of spouse as next of kin
• Timeline: Schiavo case
• Background: The Schiavo case
• MedPage Today: Does Terri Schiavo feel pain?external link
• Federal court order:  Emergency petition denied (FindLaw)external link
Terri Schiavo

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The parents of a brain-damaged woman lost their emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday night to have their daughter's feeding tube reinserted.

The desperate legal maneuver sought a temporary restraining order to force the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, while lawyers file a further appeal.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has jurisdiction over emergency appeals from Florida, Georgia and Alabama, denied a hearing.

The larger court has received five previous appeals in this case and chosen not to intervene in any of them.

In the filing, the Schindlers' lawyers wrote that removing the tube represented "an unconstitutional deprivation of Terri Schiavo's constitutional right to life."

Schiavo is expected to die within days.

The legal defeat came hours after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, rejected the parents' petition 9-2. That court denied three similar requests from the parents last week.

In a concurring opinion of the Atlanta court's latest ruling, Judge Stanley Birch said Congress "chose to overstep constitutional boundaries" by passing a law to force the Schiavo case into federal courts.

Judges Gerald Tjoflat and Charles Wilson dissented, with Tjoflat writing that the Schindlers deserved a hearing on the merits of their argument.

On March 21, three days after Schiavo's feeding tube was removed, Congress passed a bill transferring jurisdiction of the case from Florida state court to a U.S. District Court, for a federal judge to review. President Bush signed it into law the next day.

Jesse Jackson, Jeb Bush meet

Earlier Wednesday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson met in Tallahassee with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and state Senate President Tom Lee to discuss the Schiavo case.

Last week, the Florida House passed a bill meant to keep Schiavo alive on a 78-37 vote. The measure would have prevented doctors from removing a feeding tube from patients who had not expressed their wishes in writing.

The measure failed in the Senate 21-18.

Lee said there was no sign that any of the 21 senators who voted against that bill were willing to reconsider.

"It seems at every turn that these legal doors are being closed," Jackson told reporters after returning to Pinellas Park, where Schiavo lay in a hospice.

The civil rights leader visited the hospice on Tuesday but was not permitted to see her. He said the Schindlers had invited him.

Father: Schiavo looks 'darn good'

Bob Schindler visited his daughter at the hospice Wednesday, telling reporters she looked "darn good," despite nearly two weeks without her feeding tube.

"I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw and encouraged that she's still fighting," Schindler said. "We're still going to fight for her to save her, and it's not too late."

Brother Paul O'Donnell, a family spokesman, told reporters that though Schindler was trying to keep his spirits up for the sake of his family, "he feels helpless. And, like any loving father, he's been moved to tears many times today."

On Tuesday, Schindler's wife, Mary, made an impassioned plea to her daughter's husband and legal guardian, calling on him to "give my child back to me."

"Michael and Jodi, you have your own children. Please, please give my child back to me," she begged.

Schiavo has two children with the woman he has been living with since the late 1990s -- Jodi Centonze.

Police stepped up security around the hospice Wednesday afternoon. In response to multiple threats, officers inspected incoming cars and required drivers to open their trunks, said Capt. Stanfield Forseth, a Pinellas Park police spokesman. He disclosed no specifics.

Numerous protesters have surrounded the hospice, demanding that some authority take action to save her life. Nearly 50 have been arrested in attempts to enter the facility.

Long legal fight

The legal fight between Michael Schiavo and his wife's parents has lasted more than a decade.

Schiavo maintains his wife would not want to be kept alive in her condition, which courts have ruled is a persistent vegetative state. Federal courts have sided with him, rejecting all pleas for intervention.

The Schindlers dispute that their daughter is in a persistent vegetative state and claim she could improve with intense therapy.

Schiavo collapsed in her home in 1990, suffering from heart failure that led to severe brain damage because of lack of oxygen.

Her husband has said she suffered from bulimia, an eating disorder, that resulted in a potassium deficiency that triggered the heart failure.

CNN's Ninette Sosa, Bob Franken, Rich Phillips and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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