(CNSNews.com) - A federal judge in Tampa, Fla., has refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. The Associated Press broke the news shortly after 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore denied an emergency request, filed by Terri's parents, to allow feeding to continue, and he also said the family's other arguments were "without merit."
Terri's parents immediately appealed the ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
In a 13-page ruling, the judge said Terri's due process rights have not been violated, given the fact that three guardians have been appointed to represent her over the years; and he said the Schindler family's claims that Terri did not receive an impartial trial were "without merit," as was the claim that her religious rights were being violated.
The judge said he recognized the "gravity of the consequences" involved in the case.
"Even under these difficult and time-constrained circumstances, however, and notwithstanding Congress's expressed interest in the welfare of Theresa Schiavo, this court is constrained to apply the law to the issues before it," he wrote.
"As plaintiffs have not established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, their motion for temporary restraining order must be denied."
Legal analysts said the Schindler family has three slim chances for relief: If a federal appeals court panel finds against them, Terri's parents may turn to the full appeals court; and finding no relief there, they would then make a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has previously refused to intervene.
Terri Schiavo has been without food or water since Friday afternoon, and doctors predict that she could die of dehydration within days.
And as Cybercast News Service reported earlier, the judge expressed doubt's about the case on Monday.
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