Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Illegal and Unconstitutional?

A trio of politically conservative groups is asking the California Supreme Court to put the California stem cell agency out of business.

The efforts are being made by Californians for Public Accountability and Ethical Science, People's Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation.

The Associated Press
story by Paul Elias, which was distributed nationally, says that People's Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation questioned the creation of CIRM because it's not governed exclusively by state government and because the committee that controls the money isn't publicly elected.

The accountability group contends voters did not have the power to create the agency.

That group also alleges that loopholes exist in the Prop. 71 that would permit the funding of " 'test tube babies,' or even adult human beings, for body parts, companionship or a permanent worker class of subhuman beings (a la, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World)” despite its ban on human reproductive cloning.

The fanciful charge was not reported in the accounts we saw, but is certain to be circulated widely in anti-stem cell circles, regardless of whether it is well-founded.

Julie Buckner, a spokeswoman for CIRM, says the complaints about the legality of Prop. 71 are "strikingly similar" to a lawsuit the tobacco industry filed and lost after the 1998 approval of Proposition 10. Proposition 10 authorized a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax to pay for smoking prevention and early childhood education programs.

David Llewellyn, a Citrus Heights attorney, prepared the filing on behalf of the accountability group and Joni Eareckson Tada, who is identified as an advocate for the rights of the disabled.

“The people cannot legislate away their inalienable right to be governed only by state officials who have absolute, uncompromised loyalty to the public interest,” the petition for a writ of mandate argues.

Llewellyn contends that Prop. 71 is a “a qualitative revision of the state Constitution, which cannot lawfully be accomplished through the initiative process.”

Stories were also written by Laura Mecoy in
The Sacramento Bee and Teri Somers in the San Diego Union Tribune. Sphere: Related Content

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