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Senior Contributor

Harkin on the will of the people

I see where Tom Harkin while talking about his backing of stem cell research said, "Politicians and activist judges who opposeit need to respect the views of the overwhelmingly majority of the American people, who want this research to go forward."

First off I was surprised to hear Harkin borrowing the term "activist judges" from the right wing of the right.   However I was more surprised Harkin would suggest that judges should base their opinions on opinion polls or majority views of the people. 

If that were the case how much longer would slavery have been legal?  Over half a million more Californians voted for Prop 8 stating  "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."  Is that an overwhelming majority that Harkin feels should be respected as well?  What exactly would be constitute an overwhelming majority to Harkin?  A majority over 10%, 20% or just where does one draw the line?  If a southern state overwhelmingly feels inter racial marriages should be banned should a judge respect that as well? 

Speaking of judges I'm sure most have heard of the organized campaign here in Iowa to get voters to vote against certainjudges that ruled in favor of same sex marriages.  On one hand I kind of like the notion that Iowans can vote to retain theirjudges but at the same time I admit to being uneasy with organized campaigns that encourages people to vote against judgesbased on a single ruling.   I tend to agree with one attorney's thoughts of possible unfavorable consequences from these orgainzed campaigns against judges.


"It's likely to prompt Iowa judges in future campaign cycles to form campaign committees, which they're entitled to do, and solicit contributions to those committees. It will certainly attract or compel interested parties, particularly businesses, business associations, trial attorneys and labor to contribute money to campaigns in future Iowa retention campaigns."

We already have our politicians selling out to special interests groups in the hope of raising enough money to get re-elected.  Do we really want our judicial system going the same route?

1 Reply
Senior Advisor

Re: Harkin on the will of the people

What kind of stem cell research was he talking about? Adult stem cells has shown a lot of promise and has lead to breakthroughs. Embryonic, on the other hand, has never lead to any cures and is now obsolete.



As you turn on your HDTV and watch the endless controversy over embryonic stem cell research, ask yourself: Should the government spend taxpayer dollars to develop that bulky old cathode-ray television you once owned?

As you install your $79 Blu-ray player, what if Uncle Sam was paying millions to develop Betamax videotapes?

This kind of government waste is what embryonic stem cell researchers are demanding even when science itself, according to scientists such as former NIH Director Bernadine Healy, has made embryonic stem cell research obsolete.



Human embryonic stem cell research is the $10,000 toilet seat of the 21st century. Years ago, science created a cell that appears to be, in the words of an MIT study published last month, "virtually identical" to an embryonic stem cell but is cheaper, promises better compatibility to patients and kills no embryos.

These new induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) "do all the things embryonic stem cells do," explains the father of human embryonic stem cells James Thomson. Harvard's David Scadden agrees that iPSC technology "is absolutely changing the field." IPSCs "perhaps even eliminate the need for human embryos as a source of stem cells," says Keisuke Kaji of the University of Edinburgh. IPSCs even caused the man who cloned Dolly the sheep to abandon cloning three years ago because "changing cells from a patient directly into stem cells has got so much more potential."