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Opponents of Embryonic Stem Cell Research File Supreme Court Appeal

October 12, 2012—Plaintiffs seeking to stop the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from funding embryonic stem cell research Oct. 11 filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The plaintiffs, led by James Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and represented by an anti-abortion legal group, contend that the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines violate the so-called Dickey-Wicker provision contained in the annual NIH appropriations bill that bans federal funding of embryo research.  They also contend that the Administrative Procedures Act was violated when the NIH Guidelines were issued.  A panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s claims in August, as did a lower court last year. 

The plaintiffs are asking the Supreme Court to consider two procedural issues, one involving the Administrative Procedures Act and focused on whether the executive order issued by President Obama on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research obviated NIH’s need to consider comments from those totally opposing hESC research.  A second issue raised by the plaintiffs concerns whether an earlier Court of Appeals decision rejecting the Dickey-Wicker claim in the context of a preliminary injunction motion should be granted deference.


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806