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California judge upholds constitutionality of stem cell research program

[JURIST] A Superior Court judge in Alameda County, California on Friday threw out a lawsuit challenging the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) [official website], the $3 billion stem cell research program that was approved in Proposition 71 [CA AG summary, PDF], approved by California voters in a 2004 referendum. Judge Bonnie Sabraw ruled that Stem Cell Research and Cures Act establishing the program did not set up a publicly-funded initiative exclusively under state control contrary to the state constitution. Friday's dismissal of the case has cleared the way for $300 million in taxpayer funds to be steered into the research fund, although an attorney for the plaintiffs has already said he plans to appeal. Read press releases applauding Friday's ruling by CIRM [PDF] and the Alliance for Stem Cell Research.

The suit was filed [JURIST report] in February, 2005 by a Christian group [advocacy website] and a taxpayer's rights organization [NTLF backgrounder], both of which objected to those portions of Proposition 71 that exempt CIRM members from government conflict-of-interest laws. In each of the plaintiffs charges the judge sided with the government. The Los Angeles Times has more.

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