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BREAKING NEWS ~ Schiavo feeding tube removed

[JURIST] Wire services are quoting sources close to the case as saying that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube has been removed at the request of her husband acting on authority of a court order.

4:15 PM - At a press conference still ongoing, Michael Schiavo lawyer George Felos [publisher's profile] said that the feeding tube had been removed at 1:45 PM ET. He said that the Florida Supreme Court had rejected a final petition for relief filed by the US House of Representatives following Judge Greer's rejection of their subpoenas.

In an emotional statement, Felos labeled the issuance of the subpoenas "thuggery" - an "attempt to intimidate and coerce physicians, health care providers and stop them from carrying out a court order." He called it a "shocking" idea that any House committee or subcommittee member could issue subpoenas to force people to take or be subjected to medical treatment against their will. Americans, he said, should be alarmed at an act more fitting for "Stalin's politburo." Assailing the US Senate, and leading Democrats Kerry, Clinton, Leahy and others by name, he said the US Senate bill passed by unaninimous consent in support of Schiavo's parents' position and against her wishes Thursday was "shameless". He hailed the Florida judiciary for their efforts in the case, and said that the legal message from the full US Supreme Court which had rejected an emergency appeal [PDF order denying stay of enforcement of judgment pending certiorari] late Thursday was also clear.

6:15 PM ET - US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay called on the US Senate again this afternoon to pass the House bill that would move Terri Schiavo's case to the federal court:

Those senators responsible for blocking the bill yesterday afternoon, Senators Boxer, Wyden, and Levin, have put Mrs. Schiavo’s life at risk to prove a point – an unprecedented profile in cowardice. The American people are not interested in squabbles between Republicans and Democrats, or between the House and Senate. They care, and we care, about saving Terri Schiavo’s life. The House bill will do that.

Terri Schiavo is alive. She is not ‘barely alive.’ She is not ‘being kept alive.’ She is as alive as you or I, and as such we have a moral obligation to protect and defend her from the fate premeditated by the Florida courts. This is not over. We are still working, so are Mrs. Schiavo’s lawyers, and so is the Florida state legislature. This is not over.
Read the full DeLay statement. The House and Senate could theoretically sit next week for part of their Easter recess to take up any proposed legislation.

7:54 PM ET - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have have issued a joint statement on Terri Schiavo portending further federal legislative action:
We’re very disappointed by the Florida court’s decision to allow Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube to be removed. The House and Senate leadership are committed to reaching agreement on legislation that provides an opportunity to save Mrs. Schiavo’s life. Now that the House and Senate have each passed different legislative remedies, the House and Senate Committees are working urgently together. We will be working through the weekend to resolve the differences and reach an effective solution that can clear our chambers and be signed by the President.”
Read the official text of Frist's statement. Legal analysts quoted in press reports Friday suggested that Congressional efforts to stop the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube with subpoenas were doomed from the outset [AP report], especially after legislation was not forthcoming. WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa, provides a legal timeline of the Schiavo case.

9:50 PM ET - The website of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation representing Terri Schiavo's parents reports that although Terri Schiavo's nutrition and hydration have been withheld from her, it is "unclear if the port that accommodates her feeding tube has been surgically removed as her family was ordered to leave her room." The Foundation has posted copies of the Schindlers' earlier request for a temporary injunction [PDF] from the US Middle District of Florida District Court [Friday ruling denying petition [PDF] courtesy Abstract Appeal], as well as their failed emergency motion to the US Supreme Court [PDF]. The Foundation site is still calling on supporters to urge their US Senators to support HR 1332, the bill that stalled yesterday in the Senate. Updates in support of the Schindlers and keeping Terri Schiavo alive are availble on BlogsforTerri. Matt Conigliaro, an appellate attorney with Carlton Fields in St. Petersburg Florida has been following the latest legal twists and turns of the Schiavo case on his Abstract Appeal weblog.

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