Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Dept. of Justice seeks stay of stem cell injunction

Not surprisingly, the Department of Justice is seeking a stay of U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth's preliminary injunction.

The Washington Post communicates the following:

The Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth to suspend a temporary injunction he issued last week blocking the funding and filed a notice of plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Lamberth, ruling in a lawsuit filed by two researchers working on alternatives to the cells, said the funding violated a federal rule that prohibits federal tax money from being used for research that involves the destruction of human embryos.

"The government is seeking a stay of the court's injunction to prevent the irreparable harm and financial harm that could occur if these lifesaving research projects are forced to abruptly shut down," Justice Department spokesperson Tracy Schmaler said in a statement. "The great potential for significant additional medical breakthroughs is at risk if this research is halted pending the appeals process."

Lamberth's injunction "causes irrevocable harm to the millions of extremely sick or injured people who stand to benefit from continuing research, as well as taxpayers who have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this research through public funding of projects which will now be forced to shut down," she said.

The text by Rob Stein about a "federal rule" is inaccurate because it is a "federal statute" passed by Congress which is at issue.
The whole legal matter involved the Chevron "two-step," of which the government did not get past step one.
The meaning of research

The use of the word "irreparable" is a play on the "irreparable harm" requirement needed to be met to obtain the injunction in the first place. The text "irrevocable harm to the millions" is directly negated by Lamberth's initial decision, which found such assertions speculative. One wonders how there can irrevocable harm when there is no positive benefit currently in place? Abraham Lincoln would be asking the government to show him "the spot" where a harm could now be remedied.

The Wall Street Journal noted:

The department asked U.S. Chief District Court Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington to stay his preliminary injunction against federal funding while the government appeals the ruling.

In a 23-page legal filing, Justice Department lawyers said the stay was needed to avoid terminating research projects midstream and negating years of scientific progress toward finding new treatments for devastating illnesses.

The WSJ text indicated the DoJ suggested that the earlier Bush rules were impacted by the Lamberth ruling:

The ruling not only short-circuits the expansion of embryonic stem-cell research under the Obama administration, but also cuts off funding for the limited amount of research authorized by the previous Bush administration, the department warned.

Of the declaration by NIH Director Collins, see

"I was stunned": Collins doing his best Captain Renault?
on the total foreseeability of issues with the Dickey-Wicker amendment.


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