State Requests Fast-Track for Stem Cell Lawsuits
The attorney general's office on Wednesday asked an appellate court to expedite a review of lawsuits seeking to overturn Proposition 71, a $3 billion stem cell research initiative approved by voters in 2004, the Los Angeles Times reports (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 6/15).
The lawsuits challenging Proposition 71 were dismissed in April by Superior County Judge Bonnie Sabraw. However, the plaintiffs appealed the decision and said they would take the case as far as the state Supreme Court if necessary, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Johnson, San Jose Mercury News, 6/15).
The ongoing legal challenges have prevented the state from issuing bonds to fund stem cell research (Downing, Sacramento Bee, 6/15).
In her ruling, Sabraw said it would be difficult to prove that the measure is unconstitutional (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/15).
Robert Klein -- chair of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, which oversees the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine -- said, "The California Supreme Court has set a high standard for overturning initiatives, stating a measure must be clearly, presently, totally and fatally unconstitutional."
CIRM officials have said appeals could delay the release of Proposition 71 funds until 2007. Attorneys on both sides of the issue said appeals take about a year to review, but an expedited review could cut that time in half.
Plaintiff attorneys said they likely would not oppose an expedited review unless they needed more time to prepare their arguments (San Jose Mercury News, 6/15).