There’s something that has puzzled me about the recent stem cell decision that led to an injunction that prevents the NIH from spending any funds on research involving human embryonic stem cells. I’ve read the decision (pdf), and it appears to be incredibly broad and damaging to NIH funding in general.
I could understand an injunction based on a finding that the policy violated federal law: I think that’s stupid, but I get it. What I don’t understand is the finding that NIH policy causes harm to the plaintiffs (the researchers who brought the suit):
Plaintiffs are researchers who work exclusively with ASCs. They seek funds for their research projects from defendants and allege “that obtaining NIH funding is necessary for their continued research.” (Pls.’ Mot.  at 44.) The Guidelines, by allowing federal funding of ESC research, increases competition for NIH’s limited resources. This increased competition for limited funds is an actual, imminent injury.
Why couldn’t this be applied to any decision by NIH to reallocate funding at the programmatic level? If, for instance, NIH were to reallocate funding from bioterror agents (microbes used in biological warfare) to other microbiological areas, would those researchers be able to sue?
Am I missing something here (I very well could be)? Because if I’m not, this could lead to all sorts of mischief. I could definitely imagine universities suing over large program grants worth millions or tens of millions of dollars.