Saturday, April 30, 2011
By a 2-1 vote, a panel on the D.C. Circuit overrode an opinion issued last year against federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells. The district court had read the Dickey-Wicker Amendment’s ban on the use of federal funds for research in which embryos are destroyed to apply to research which can be connected to the destruction of embryos. The appellate panel, on the other hand, concluded that it was reasonable for the NIH to interpret Dickey-Wicker as applying only to research in which the embryos are destroyed. Since later research on embryonic stem cells does not entail concurrent destruction of embryos, the NIH had decided that Dickey-Wicker did not apply. Besides its decision on the interpretation of Dickey-Wicker, the opinion includes an analysis of standards for preliminary injunctions and for judicial review of administrative agency actions.