A federal appeals court this afternoon sided with the Justice Department in temporarily blocking enforcement of a ruling that bans government funding for human embryonic stem cell research.
DOJ attorneys asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay the preliminary injunction issued Aug. 23 in Washington federal district court. Judges Judith Rogers, Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh heard oral argument yesterday. The court today issued a per curiam judgment granting the government's emergency motion for a stay pending appeal.
Federal law prohibits the government from funding research in which human embryos are destroyed. In August, Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered an injunction that blocked the government from implementing National Institutes of Health guidelines that took effect last year.
The Justice Department’s Beth Brinkmann, who heads the Civil Division appellate section, argued Monday in the D.C. Circuit that putting Lamberth's ruling on hold was necessary to preserve millions of dollars in ongoing research. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Thomas Hungar, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs, argued the government had failed to show how the injunction caused any harm.
The D.C. Circuit said today it will expedite the appeal.