Appeals Court allows Stem Cell Funding to Continue
A US appeals court on 9/28/10 allowed federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research to continue pending a full appeal, lifting an injunction issued by a federal judge who had said the Obama administration’s policy violated the law.
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Obama administration had “satisfied the standards required for a stay pending appeal” of the injunction imposed by the judge last month.
- During a lengthy oral argument on 9/27/10, government lawyers warned the 3 judge panel of the appeals court that dozens of research projects would be ruined if their funding was cut off, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and causing irreparable harm.
Even with funding allowed to continue, possibly only temporarily, the White House could turn to Congress in hopes lawmakers will rewrite the law to be clearer on the issue, though that could be difficult in an election year.
- Lawmakers are expected to head back to their home districts in coming days to campaign for re-election;
- Conservative Republicans are expected to make gains in the November elections, which may make it harder to win passage next year.
NIH could also try to rewrite its guidelines to conform with the law, or the White House could appeal to the Supreme Court if the appeals court rules against it on the merits of the case. (HWM and Reuters)