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Stem cell appeal brief filed

The U.S. government filed its appellant’s brief before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday in the stem cell case, Sherley v. Sebelius.

The government is appealing the preliminary injunction issued by the District Court in August that stopped federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. That injunction has been temporarily suspended by the Appeals Court while the appeal goes forth.

The government’s brief largely reiterated arguments previously presented — that the appropriations act wording does not prohibit the work, and that the balance of harms does not favor the preliminary injunction.

The next step at the Appeals Court will be the brief by adult stem cell researchers James L. Sherley and Theresa A. Deisher; that is due on Oct. 28. The government will reply on Nov. 4, and the court will decide at some point thereafter.

While the appeal takes place, the main case is going forward in district court. Both sides have moved for summary judgement because they believe the case can be resolved based on undisputed facts. Yesterday Sherley and Deisher filed their reply in support of summary judgement, and the government’s reply is due on Oct. 28.

John A. Hawkinson