Appeals Court Continues Embryonic Funding
Special Report - September 10, 2010
Yesterday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the Obama administration’s request to temporarily lift a preliminary injunction that halted the use of taxpayer funds for research involving the destruction of human embryos. The rulingissued by a three-judge panel of the appeals court on September 9allows the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to resume federal funding of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, while the Department of Justice (DOJ) appeals an August 23 preliminary injunction against the funding issued by Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.
As we previously reported, Judge Lamberth said in his decision that the NIH “Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research,” which were adopted in 2009 in response to an executive order issued by President Obama, violated a federal law known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for research that destroys human embryos. Read more on the background of the lawsuit against the NIH funding of embryonic stem cell research, here.
The DOJ filed a request for a stay of the injunction with the D.C. Court of Appeals, after Judge Lamberth rejected a similar request for a stay on September 7. In his denial of the stay, Judge Lamberth said, “In this Court’s view, a stay would flout the will of Congress, as this Court understands what Congress has enacted in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. Congress remains perfectly free to amend or revise the statute. This Court is not free to do so. Congress has mandated that the public interest is served by preventing taxpayer funding of research that entails the destruction of human embryos. It is well-established that ‘[i]t is in the public interest for courts to carry out the will of Congress and for an agency to implement properly the statute it administers.’”
In its September 9 order granting the DOJ’s request for a stay of the injunction, the appeals court noted “The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the merits of the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion.”
Ruling Upholds Stem Cell Funding Ban - August 30, 2010
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