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A legal perspective on the human embryonic stem cell ruling

Much has been written about the implications of Monday's opinion by District Court Judge Royce Lamberth blocking federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. A legal analysis of the opinion, however, hasn't gotten as much play. So Russell Korobkin, a UCLA law professor, has written an engaging pair of entries offering such an analysis on The Volokh Conspiracy.

In the first entry, he writes:

Judge Lamberth surprisingly interpreted Dickey-Wicker to prevent the use of tax dollars to support researchers who do any work using hESC lines as an input. One might at least plausibly argue for this result based on the principle that underlies Dickey-Wicker: that is, if Congress’ goal is to avoid dirtying the federal government’s hands with complicity in the destruction of embryos, perhaps research that relies on embryo destruction somewhere upstream should be ineligible for funding. But Lamberth claims that his result is supported by the unambiguous language of the Amendment. I find this argument utterly unconvincing.

Korobkin's second entry, which further fleshes out his thinking, is also worth reading.

Previously: A father's reaction to the embryonic stem cell injunction, More concern over US judge's stem cell ruling and Stanford stem cell expert weighs in on district court ruling

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