Yesterday an appeals court ruled in favor of a permanent injunction until appeal against the ruling a federal judge made upholding the existing law which says no federal funding is allowed on human embryonic stem cell research. This ruling allows research (and funding) to continue “while the Obama administration appeals the judge’s original ruling against use of public funds in such research.”
Essentially, the initial ruling of US District Court Judge, Royce Lamberth, was considered unenforceable because it went against our administration’s priority. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said:
President Obama made expansion of stem cell research and the pursuit of groundbreaking treatments and cures a top priority when he took office. We’re heartened that the court will allow NIH and their grantees to continue moving forward while the appeal is resolved.
Let’s establish something. It doesn’t matter if President Obama made expansion of stem cell research a top priority. There is an amendment that does not allow for federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. Period. It doesn’t matter what anyone, no matter his office, thinks of it. I think abortion should be illegal, but it’s not. My job is to fight that law, both through prayer and through acts such as writing for this blog, but as soon as I decide that law is not as important as my beliefs, I step into anarchy and crime. Why is it different for the administration?
Our president has made this part of his agenda, and has vocally supported issues such as this from the start, but his priority has not been on changing the laws, but on living by his own. Since the 1990s the Dickey-Wicker Amendment
has been in place, and the idea than one administration can have its way despite what’s on the books should be disturbing even if you support
federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research.
Lest this just be a theoretical discussion about courts and legalities, just this week this post
reminded us that human embryos become human beings. Pictures of embryos who are now beautiful children remind us of the humanity which Congress established years ago should not be destroyed in the name of research.
The CNN story remarks on Lamberth’s ruling upholding the law:
"Defendants [the government] are incorrect about much of their ‘parade of horribles’ that will supposedly result from this Court’s preliminary injunction… Congress has mandated that the public interest is served by preventing taxpayer funding of research that entails the destruction of human embryos.”
Lamberth’s ruling wasn’t spiteful, capricious or inappropriate. He did his job as a federal judge: he made ruling upholding federal law. Judge Lamberth’s entire ruling may be accessed here
. Please see Section C
for the federal background on this. It also contains the reasoning behind his ruling. His rationale includes the following factors: 1) The Dickey-Wicker Amendment Is Unambiguous and 2) The Guidelines Violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.
Lamberth’s ruling was solidly based on what’s written in the law. It doesn’t matter if we like it; it’s the law. In fact, he says on page 11 of his ruling:
Had Congress intended to limit the Dickey-Wicker to only those discrete acts that result in the destruction of an embryo, like the derivation of ESCs, or to research on the embryo itself, Congress could have written the statute that way. Congress, however, has not written the statute that way, and this Court is bound to apply the law as it is written. Accordingly, this Court must “give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress” to prohibit federal funding of research in which a human embryo is destroyed. (Source)
If the Obama administration doesn’t like this law, it is certainly in a better position than anyone to work on changing it, but change doesn’t mean it should be allowed to continue doing what is already wrong while it’s on appeal. We don’t allow criminals who have potential of destroying lives to come out of prison while we let them run their course of appeals. Neither should we let a runaway administration do this today.