Loved this headline, as if judges are supposed to rule on the basis of liking or disliking cases at hand…

Yesterday Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia denied the Obama administration’s emergency request to lift his August 23 temporary injunction against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Lamberth based his decision on the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans such funding.

Obama’s lawyers argued Lamberth’s decision would do irreparable harm to research already underway and would also stop research funding authorized under the Bush administration of embryonic stem cell lines already created.

Lamberth, pictured on page 2, was quite snippy, writing:

Defendants are incorrect about much of their “parade of horribles” that will supposedly result from this Court’s preliminary injunction.

Plaintiffs agree that this Court’s order does not even address the Bush administration guidelines… The prior guidelines, of course, allowed research only on existing stem cell lines, foreclosing additional destruction of embryos.

Plaintiffs also agree that projects previously awarded and funded are not affected by this Court’s order….

Additionally, since plaintiffs anticipate filing their motion for summary judgment by September 10…  the length of time this preliminary injunction will be in place should be limited.

In this Court’s view, a stay would flout the will of Congress, as this Court understands what Congress has enacted in the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. Congress remains perfectly free to amend or revise the statute. This Court is not free to do so.

Congress has mandated that the public interest is served by preventing taxpayer funding of research that entails the destruction of human embryos. It is well-established that “[i]t is in the public interest for courts to carry out the will of Congress and for an agency to implement properly the statute it administers.” Mylan Pharms., Inc. v. Shalala….

NIH funds research projects this way, as described by Science magazine:

When NIH disburses a grant, it doesn’t hand the money over to the researcher’s institution. Instead, the Treasury has a special account that the institution draws down to pay an investigator’s research project expenses. Technically, the money is held by the Treasury Dept. and is paid out gradually over the year.

So while NIH has begun funding some escr projects, if Lamberth’s ruling stands, federal funding will stop midstream. This means, according to the New York Times:

But if the ruling is upheld, the government will be forced to suspend $54 million in financing for 22 scientific projects by the end of September. An additional 60 projects are threatened….

In 2009, the health institutes spent $143 million to underwrite more than 330 scientific projects using human embryonic stem cells, and it estimated that it would spend another $137 million in this fiscal year, which ends in September.

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