Court Issues Stay on Ruling To Limit Funding for Stem Cell Research
On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., temporarily lifted a U.S. district court judge's preliminary injunction on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, allowing researchers to continue work on federally approved projects, the New York Times reports (Harris, New York Times, 9/9).
On Aug. 23, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth issued the preliminary injunction against President Obama's stem cell policy, ruling that the policy violates a 1996 law known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits expending federal funds for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed."
On Tuesday, Lamberth rejected the administration's request to lift the preliminary injunction while it appealed his initial decision. The Department of Justice had argued that Lamberth's ban would jeopardize millions of dollars intended for projects already under way and prevent "significant additional medical breakthroughs" (California Healthline, 9/8).
The appeals court's three-judge panel said that it was suspending the temporary ban to give the judges time to consider the merits of Lamberth's decision and the Obama administration's counterarguments (Vicini, Reuters, 9/9). The panel noted that its ruling "should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits" of the case (Yost, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/9).
The administration has until Sept. 20 to file written arguments with the appeals court to institute a stay on Lamberth's injunction, while attorneys for the plaintiffs -- a pair of biotechnology researchers -- have until Sept. 14 to file their briefs (Reuters, 9/9).
On Thursday, congressional Democrats hailed the ruling and indicated that they are preparing to address the issue of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research when Congress reconvenes next week, CQ Today reports (Ethridge/Reichard, CQ Today, 9/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.