Wednesday, February 28, 2007

CIRM Hoping for Quick Supreme Court Action

With a little luck, the California stem cell agency could be finished very shortly with its current round of court travails.

Opponents of the agency have signaled they are likely to appeal to the California State Supreme Court Monday's ruling in favor of CIRM. But given the strength of the most recent decision, chances are fairly good that the high court may not grant a review.

Time limits are imposed on the Supreme Court appeal process so it may be all be over in about four months, if the court rejects a request for review.

Reporter Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune said stem cell Chairman Robert Klein read the section of the decision saying that the justices had "no hesitation" in rendering their decision and remarked:
“It doesn't get better than that, does it?”
Appellate decisions sometimes take a couple of months to surface. Monday's took 12 days.

Klein told New York Times reporter Andy Pollack that if the Supreme Court declines the case, CIRM could begin issuing its first bonds shortly after the court's rejection. The lawsuits have clouded the market for CIRM bonds, making the state unable to issue them. Pollack also succinctly characterized the CIRM opponents as groups that "oppose abortion, research with human embryonic stem cells or taxes."

Reporter Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle picked up an interesting quote from the decision dealing with the conflicts of interest posed by Prop. 71. He quoted Justice Stuart Pollak as saying:
"The voters have determined that the advantages of permitting particularly knowledgeable persons to decide which research projects to fund outweigh any concerns that these decisions may be influenced by the personal or professional interests of those members, so long as the members do not participate in any decision to award grants to themselves or their employer."
Monday's decision does not mean that CIRM is out of the legal woods. Given the fever pitch of ESC research opponents, they are certain to come at the agency again but on different grounds. Their objective is to badger, impede and stall. Sphere: Related Content

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