Monday, July 03, 2006

Stem Cell Legal: Fishing for Another Judgment

The folks who have failed in their legal attempts to exterminate the California stem cell agency are trying another tack.

This time they want to halt funding of CIRM grants to the University of California on the grounds that such funding amounts to an illegal conflict of interest because nine members of the 29-member body approving the grants had ties to UC.

The action in Sacramento County Superior Court is just a retread of the CIRM foes' earlier attempt in Alameda County Superior Court, a move that was rejected by a judge in a very brief trial and is now on appeal.

While providing lip service to legal arguments, the CIRM foes have made it clear that their primary motivation for their action is their religious opposition to embryonic stem cell research. They have also made it clear that if they cannot prevail legally, the next best thing is to force the agency and now the University of California and the state Controller to waste time and money on frivolous lawsuits.

We would have more tolerance for their legal positions if we had not witnessed their performance in last February's trial. They were unprepared and appeared to have failed to do basic research that could have bolstered their position.

We should note that litigation in America serves a variety of purposes aside from settling legal disputes. One is to stimulate media and public attention. Another is to stimulate the constituencies of the organizations involved in the legal action. Those are important objectives for the CIRM foes.

The Web site California Politics Today, run by Marc Strassman, was the first to report the latest lawsuit. Here are links to his two stories on the subject (the first one and the follow the next day). Here is a link to the legal filing.

Other than Strassman's piece, we have not seen any other coverage of the latest lawsuit.

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