The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed the order of the D.C. District Court that had nullified President Obama’s executive order restoring Federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells (ESCs) as conflicting with the Congressional amendment attached to a bill each year that bars Federal funding for research that would destroy human embryos. The Court of Appeals did not provide any opinion on the merits, but the stay permits NIH-funded ESC research projects in the U.S. to continue, and permits the NIH to continue to disburse funds to projects it had funded under the Obama order. Of course, the stay will only last until a decision on the merits, which itself is sure to be appealed, but this may provide time for a legislative fix favored by supporters of ESC research. Earlier posts on this judicial/legislative battle appear below (Sept. 1st and August 25th).
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Warren D. Woessner