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.