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The Judge's Order

Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page A05

From the order by U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore:

The purpose of a temporary restraining order, like a preliminary injunction, is to protect against irreparable injury and preserve the status quo until the district court renders a meaningful decision on the merits. . . . A district court may grant a preliminary injunction only if the moving party shows that:

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(1) it has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits;

(2) irreparable injury will be suffered unless the injunction issues;

(3) the threatened injury to the movant outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; and

(4) if issued, the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. . . .

It is apparent that Theresa Schiavo will die unless temporary injunctive relief is granted. This circumstance satisfies the requirement of irreparable injury. Moreover, that threatened injury outweighs any harm the proposed injunction would cause. To the extent Defendants urge that Theresa Schiavo would be harmed by the invasive procedure reinserting the feeding tube, this court finds that death outweighs any such harm. Finally, the court is satisfied that an injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. Notwithstanding these findings, it is essential that Plaintiffs establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, which the court finds they have not done. . . .

This court appreciates the gravity of the consequences of denying injunctive relief. Even under these difficult and time strained circumstances, however, and notwithstanding Congress' expressed interest in the welfare of Theresa Schiavo, this court is constrained to apply the law to the issues before it. As Plaintiffs have not established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order . . . must be DENIED.

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