Federal Court Blocks Human Stem Cell Research

United States District Court Judge Royce Lamberth has issued an order that is a serious blow to those of us who have advocated the expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Lamberth issued a preliminary injunction to stop all such funding under the new Obama policy.

The issuance of such a preliminary injunction is significant since the underlying standard requires the court to have a likelihood of ultimately prevailing on the merits. Lamberth found that the policy presumptively violated federal law banning the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos since “(Embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed.”

President Bill Clinton signed a law that prohibited the destruction of human stem cells. Lamberth rejected the distinction of the Administration between work that leads to the destruction of embryos and the financing of work using stem cells created through embryonic destruction: “If one step or ‘piece of research’ of an E.S.C. research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding.”

Various Christian groups supported the lawsuit against the National Institute of Health.

The most direct response to this ruling would be to reconsider the existing law to allow for this needed research to move forward. I have written previously on the dire need for such research (here and here).

Source: New York Times

17 thoughts on “Federal Court Blocks Human Stem Cell Research”

  1. Buckeye,

    Not to speak for mespo, but believe it or not, that is part of a judge’s job description. Can they make up law whole cloth? No. That’s the legislature’s job in creating statutory law. But judges can rule a law as applied prime facie unconstitutional, too vague for proper enforcement or incapable of enforcement as written for other reasons. When a judge does this, nothing prevents the legislature from revising the law to either comply with the state or federal constitutional violation in question or reword the law to remove any conflict or confusion in administration. This is part and parcel of the common law/case law system and the concept of stare decisis. If the legislature fails to act, then the precedent stands.

  2. mespo

    You think the judge and not the lawmakers should fix a bad law? Are we talking about the USA?

  3. Sounds like the judge made a sound decision to me. There is a law prohibiting funding of such things with tax dollars. Obama’s EO can’t supersede law. Hence, the injunction.

    While I disagree that such research is necessary, the correct procedure would be as Prof. Turley says, get the law changed if you can and desire the federal funding of ESC.

  4. buckeye:

    [Allowing]Bad law makes good judges look bad too cowardly to fix it.

  5. My father died of Parkinson’s disease that likely could have been cured with stem cell therapy. It is hard to fathom how these people value a single cell more than a real, breathing, human life.

  6. The only worry that I have on appeal is what would happen if the Supremes got to decide this issue? That scares me.

  7. Mespo,

    The most interesting one prohibits further exploration of the ocean for fear of upsetting Jörmungandr thereby inadvertently bringing about Ragnarok.

  8. So it is against the law to “kill” an embryo but it’s fine to put this alleged “life” into a freezer and freeze it like a vegetable until someone decides it is needed. Does this make sense?

  9. I heard a footnote in the ruling orders lead to turn to gold, the CIA to determine how many angels can stand on the head of a pin, and resurrects Ponce de León to find both the Fountain of Youth and Big Foot. Myth and delusion on holiday!!

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