Court overturns ruling blocking stem cell research funding

An appeals court overturned a judicial ruling blocking federal funding of stem cell research Friday, handing the Obama administration a courtroom victory for one of its most high-profile scientific policies.

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 lifted a preliminary injunction issued last year that banned such funding.

The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by two scientists seeking to stop the National Institutes of Health from financing researching into embryonic stem cells.

Judges Douglas H. Ginsburg and Thomas B. Griffith threw out the injunction after concluding that the two scientists did not prove “they are likely to succeed” in proving that funding the research is prohibited by federal law.

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented, writing that the two other judges had performed "linguistic jujitsu” to overturn the ruling in August by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth that had halted the federal financing of stem cell research.

Friday’s decision follows one in September in which an appeals panel lifted Lamberth’s injunction while the court considered his ruling.

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