Monday, February 26, 2007

'We Won!' Says CIRM; Appellate Court Rules for the Institute

A California appellate court this afternoon ruled in favor of the state's $3 billion stem cell agency, rejecting a bid by opponents to kill off the institute.

Word came from attorneys at 4:24 p.m. PST: "We won!"

The court ruled very quickly following its Feb. 14 hearing for oral arguments. The speed of the decision would presumably augur well for CIRM in the likely event that the ruling is appealed to the California Supreme Court. That would be the last venue for the case.

News reports out of the Feb. 14 hearing noted that the appellate court justices seemed skeptical of the arguments of the opponents, who contended that the agency is not under the control of the state and had illegal conflicts of interests. For more on their legal deficiencies see this blog's report from the trial that concluded almost exactly one year ago today.

Here is statement by Robert Klein, chairman of CIRM, on the decision:
"We are very pleased with today’s ruling from the California Court of Appeal. Once again, the judiciary has upheld the Constitutionality of California’s innovative stem cell research project – in its entirety, without equivocation, and with absolutely no room for further argument. We are grateful that the Court rendered this decision so quickly, as it speeds the day when the will of 7 million voters can be fully realized.

"We have been relentless in our pursuit of the voters’ mandate. Despite our inability to issue any of the $3 billion in general obligation bonds authorized by Proposition 71, and thanks to the leadership of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and private philanthropists throughout the state, we are moving forward aggressively. Ten days ago, we approved 72 grants totaling nearly $45 million for embryonic stem cell research. (Next month)we expect to approve up to $80 million more, to truly jump start stem cell research in California.

"Throughout this litigation, we have been ably represented by former Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Deputy Attorney General Tamar Pachter. The efforts of our outside counsel, James Harrison of Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, have also been invaluable. And, of course, we’ve enjoyed the strong support of the many scientists, research institutions, and patient advocate organizations who filed amicus briefs in both the Superior Court and Court of Appeal cases"
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