Enormous hubbub - as evidenced by this symposium - has greeted the decision by Judge John Sirica, a good year ago now, in Foundation on Economic Trends v. Heckler. There the trial court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the release of recombinant DNA into the environment until the National Institutes of Health, under whose auspices the release was to take place, complied with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. That, at least, is how a lawyer would describe the case. The scientific researcher's description of the case would probably be somewhat less complex: A court halted a scientific experiment. Government stood in the way of scientific progress, and that, in the view of the researcher, is simply outrageous. Perhaps the result in Foundation on Economic Trends is indeed outrageous, but outrageous or not, the court's action is at the very least a signal that times have changed.
Stephen L. Carter,
The Bellman, the Snark, and the Biohazard Debate,
Yale L. & Pol'y Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol3/iss2/5