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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Stem Cell Opponents Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
11 October 2012 1:18 pm
Two scientists who have fought a 3-year, losing court battle to block federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research have now taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Yesterday, attorneys for the plaintiffs in Sherley v. Sebelius filed what's known as a writ of certiorari with the land's highest court. In their 36-page petition, they ask the court to consider two questions that were raised when a federal appeals court ruled against them in August. One is whether the appeals court should have relied on its own earlier, split decision finding that federally funded hESC research doesn't violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. The law bans federal funds for research that destroys human embryos.
The second question is whether the appeals court should have agreed that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could ignore thousands of comments opposing hESC research when the agency issued guidelines in July 2009 implementing an executive order from President Barack Obama lifting Bush-era restrictions on the research.
"We're at the end game here, hopefully, and we'll see if the court accept or rejects" the petition, says Tony Mazzaschi of the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C., which has supported NIH in the case. He's skeptical that the justices will agree to hear the case: The plaintiffs raise "awfully narrow, academic-type legal questions. [The Supreme Court is] not being asked to judge Dickey-Wicker." (Moreover, the Supreme Court usually only agrees to hear less than 1.4% of petitions each year.) The court will likely decide whether to take the case before its term ends in June.
In any event, the petition may be moot if Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney wins the election next month and issues his own executive order that could potentially restrict funding for hESC research, Mazzaschi points out.
*Correction 2:18 p.m., 12 October: A quote from Tony Mazzaschi has been corrected to reflect the types of questions that the plaintiffs raise.