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Federal appeals court temporarily lifts stem cell research ban

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the Obama administration's request for an emergency stay [order, PDF] Thursday, lifting the ban on stem cell research [JURIST news archive]. The Obama administration sought the stay Wednesday after Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] on Tuesday denied [order, PDF; JURIST report] a motion to stay his preliminary injunction [order, PDF; JURIST report] issued in August. The appeals court granted the temporary stay so it could have "sufficient opportunity to consider the merits" of the Obama's administration's emergency motion for stay. The court ordered the appellees to respond to the emergency motion by September 14, and the Obama administration has until September 20 to reply.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration appealed [JURIST report] the injunction, arguing that Lamberth's ruling was overbroad, endangering an array of research across multiple programs and centers while only serving a very attenuated economic interest of the plaintiffs in the case. According to the filing, the injunction threatens 24 research projects, more than 1,300 jobs and $64 million in funding, as well as potentially millions of Americans who may benefit from medical advances in the field of stem cell research. Last year, President Barack Obama signed an executive order [JURIST report] permitting federal funding for some forms of embryonic stem cell research. Despite the executive order, Lambert held that evidence showed that the plaintiffs were substantially likely to prevail based on existing law.

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