California Stem Cell Research Lawsuits Will Proceed, Judge Rules

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Stem Cell Research Lawsuits Will Proceed, Judge Rules Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 30, 2005

Sacramento, CA ( — A judge ruled on Tuesday that two lawsuits filed against Proposition 71, the measure which will spend $6 billion on embryonic stem cell research, should not be dismissed even though they’re holding up grants for research.

The decision makes it likely that any significant grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to scientists for the life-destroying research will be blocked well into 2006.

But in a victory for the stem cell committee, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw also denied motions by the pro-life and taxpayer groups who sued to immediately declare the proposition unconstitutional.

Sabraw ordered both sides back to court to set a trial date and added that she planned to "proceed to trial promptly.” But, according to a San Jose Mercury News article, both sides said a trial probably would not take place until the Spring and appeals will likely follow the decision in the case.

Robert Klein, who chairs the stem cell research panel, told the News that he hopes to proceed with some, albeit smaller, grants despite the pending litigation which has prohibited his group from financing its first round of bonds.

"We would have loved to have a home run,” by having the suits dismissed, Klein told the San Jose newspaper. "But boy, this is a great inside-the-park triple.”

Dana Cody, a pro-life attorney who filed one of the suits on behalf of the People’s Advocates and the National Tax Limitation Foundation saying the proposition runs afoul of conflict of interest laws, said she was also pleased with the judge’s decision.

"I’m not disappointed at all" she told the News because a trial would let her side get out all of the information about the problems associated with the measure and insufficient state oversight of the committee.

David LLewellyn, who filed the other suit for the California Bioethics Council, added that the judge’s decision allows his group to be very broad in describing the unconstitutional portions of Prop. 71.

Klein is hoping to secure more donations to keep the panel going through 2006 and has relied on a $3 million loan from the state and a $5 million donation from audio magnate Thomas Dolby.