Today, the two sides in the court battle over whether federally funded research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is legal both registered their opposition to the University of California's (UC's) request this week to become a party to the suit, the first university to do so.
In briefs submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the D.C. Circuit, the plaintiffs, two researchers who study adult stem cells, argue that UC hasn't justified why it should be allowed to join at this late stage, more than a year after the plaintiffs originally sued. The Justice Department, which is defending the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services, says that although UC "has a valuable and significant perspective to offer," making it a party to the case would invite more universities to weigh in and would slow the appeal down. Instead, Justice attorneys suggest that UC should submit an amicus (friend of the court) brief supporting the government's position. Both sides say UC's interests are adequately represented by the government.
At 10 a.m. on Monday, 27 September, the appeals court will hear oral arguments about whether the court should issue a longer stay of a district court's
23 August preliminary injunction that halted hESC research for more than 2 weeks.
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