Monday, August 23, 2010

Federal Judge Confirms that Law Takes Precedence over Executive Orders

A United States federal district judge has ruled that federal law takes precedence under the U.S. Constitution over federal regulation that is based upon a presidential executive order.

The judge granted a temporary injunction against federal funding for embryonic stem cell research that was permitted by a National Institute for Health regulation that implemented an executive order issued by President Barak Obama. Obama had issued the order shortly after he took office in order to lift a federal ban on embryonic stem cell research imposed by President George W. Bush. However, the judge ruled that a law approved annually since the late 1990s prohibits any federal funding that necessitated the destruction of human embryos. Bush had permitted federal funding for research only on pre-existing lines of embryonic stem cells, but the research Obama permitted would necessitate the destruction of the embryos, this violating the law, the judge ruled.

This ruling confirms the prediction I made in my post from March of this year, Federal Courts Would Rule that the Law Takes Precedence over an Executive Order, in which I note how Obama's executive order prohibiting federal funding for health insurance coverage for abortion would have no legal effect because the law he signed to federalize health insurance would require federal funding of health insurance coverage for abortion. See also my post, July Follow-Ups and Updates, in which I explained that Article I of the Constitution grants legislative power to Congress, not the Executive.

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