Adult Stem Cell Researchers Ask Federal Court to Reverse Ruling That Existing Federal Law Does Not Ban Federal Funding of Illegal, Unnecessary, and Unethical 'Research' in Which Human Embryos are 'Knowingly Subjected to Risk of Injury or Death'
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asked to reverse federal district's ruling dismissing action to enjoin federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2011 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Today, on behalf of the adult stem researchers it represents, the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project
and their co-counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund
and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
, filed their Notice of Appeal
asking the United States Court of Appeals to reinstate their case dismissed by United States District Court for the District of Columbia in its July 27 decision
based upon the district court's interpretation of the Court of Appeal's April 29 ruling
vacating the district court's August 23, 2010 preliminary injunction
of the National Institute of Health's regulations that Obama administration promulgated to permit the federal funding of "research in which" human embryos are "knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death." While again affirming the standing of adult stem cell researchers to challenge these regulations, the federal district court dismissed the case saying that it had no choice under the "mandate rule" but to follow the Court of Appeal's April 29 ruling that Congress' ban on human embryonic research was written in a sufficiently "ambiguous" fashion to ban the use of federal funds that risked the "injury or death" of human embryos, but not the use of federal funds to do research on the embryonic stem cells that were derived from such injury or destruction. In the words of U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth explaining his July 27 decision: "While it may be true that by following the Court of Appeals' conclusion as to the ambiguity of 'research', the Court has become a grudging partner in a bout of 'linguistic jujitsu', Sherley, 2011 WL 1599685
, at 22 (Henderson, J. dissenting), such is life for an antepenultimate court."
The case began almost two years ago when, in response to President Obama's March 9, 2009 Executive Order
, the NIH published and noticed for public comment
allowing federal funds to be used for the first time for the creation of new stem cell lines (hESC) requiring the destruction of living human embryos. Before these guidelines became law the Law of Life's General Counsel, Sam Casey
, with his co-counsel Tom Hungar
of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, representing the DO NO HARM Coalition
, formally filed over 140 pages of legal and scientific comments objecting to what many people saw as the grossly irresponsible use of public funds to support research which is illegal, unnecessary, and an unethical breach of long-standing Congressionally-acknowledged principles barring such human subject experimentation. When NIH patently ignored and prejudged these comments and approximately 30,000 other comments and commentators opposing federal funding of destructive human embryonic stem cell research, the on-going legal action was required.
LOLP's General Counsel, Sam Casey, who has been arguing the issues in this case for more than decade said: "Each time grant-awarding officials and federally funded scientists support or engage in hESC research, living human embryos are 'knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death,' in violation of the federal law known as the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. The federally sponsored hESC research that the Guidelines support inevitably creates a substantial risk—indeed, a virtual certainty—that more human embryos will be destroyed in order to derive more hESCs for research purposes. Indeed, Dr. James Sherley
, one of the plaintiffs in the case, today filed a supporting declaration
demonstrating that the NIH Guidelines are in fact currently having just such a destructive impact in violation of the federal prohibition against such conduct set forth in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment that was again reauthorized by Congress at the beginning of this year."
"The NIH chose to ignore both our DO NO HARM et. al. Comments
, as well as approximately 30,000 other comments--60% of those received in the mandatory guideline review process—which raised serious and highly relevant questions about the ethics and scientific merits of hESC research," said Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher partner, Tom Hungar, Mr. Casey's co-counsel. Hungar added, "the challenged NIH Guidelines clearly violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, but NIH's decision to turn a blind eye to tens of thousands of comments demonstrating that hESC research can't be justified even under the government's own criteria means that the NIH's guidelines were promulgated in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and must be struck down for that reason as well."
After the NIH took any real consideration of the merits of hESC research "off the table" during its pre-ordained review process, effectively pushing a very specific and controversial policy despite laws designed to prevent exactly that action, the Law of Life Project and its co-counsel were left with no recourse but direct litigation, and the hope that the judicial system will ultimately rectify the injustice the NIH continues to unlawfully perpetrate at the taxpayers' expense. Since that time, after going to the Court of Appeals the first time in 2009 to establish their clients' "standing" to assert their claims, and a second time in 2010 unsuccessfully defending a preliminary injunction entered by the District Court on the strength of only the first of their three claims for relief, Casey says, "the Law of Life Project now must return to the Court of Appeals to respectfully ask it to consider plaintiffs' other arguments that it has not previously decided. Given the legislative intent and legal history
involved in this case and the enormous destruction of human embryonic life costing hundreds of millions of dollars Congress never intended to permit in passing the Dickey-Wicker amendment banning such expenditures, we have no choice but to now exhaust all of our judicial remedies before returning to the Congress, if necessary."
JUBILEE CAMPAIGN’S LAW OF LIFE PROJECT IS A PUBLIC INTEREST LEGAL ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO LEGALLY DEFENDING THE RIGHT TO LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN BEING FROM BIOLOGICAL CONCEPTION UNTIL NATURAL DEATH IN ALL MATTERS WORLDWIDE WHERE SUCH A DEFENSE IS REQUIRED. JUBILEE CAMPAIGN IS AN INTERNATIONAL CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION THAT SEEKS TO BE A “VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS” PROMOTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL, PARTICULARLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF ANY AGE IN COUNTRIES WHICH IMPRISON, TERRORIZE OR OTHERWISE OPPRESS THEM.