Apparently the Oscars were a good nod for CIRM, too – the 1st District Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision that ruled in favour of the creation of the institute. The legal challenges came from abortion opponents and anti-tax activists, who worked together to challenge the legality of the of the program, questioning whether it violated a host of laws concerning state spending, oversight, conflicts of interest, and the very structure of ballot initiatives.
The immediate result of the litigation was that CIRM has been unable to issue any of the earmarked $3 billion in bonds, although the program was able to award its first research grants (nearly $45 million worth) thanks to a combination of loans from the government and philanthropists.
While opponents will probably appeal to the California Supreme Court, everyone on the CIRM side of things seems to believe that even if the state Supreme Court opted to hear the case (and some are saying that the ruling is so strong, there’s no way the court would even hear an appeal), it would be ruled on before the end of the year, and that CIRM will be able to begin allocating their $3 billion very soon.
Here’s to some crossed fingers and positive vibes to the state currently south of me. A lot of other states are watching CIRM intently, hoping for a role model – it’d be nice if it could be a positive role model.