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Lamberth’s opinion “allows a vocal minority to hold science hostage to a narrow political agenda,” said Susan L. Solomon, CEO of The New York Stem Cell Foundation.

Lisa Hughes, president, the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, called it “a blow to the hopes of millions of patients and their families suffering from fatal and chronic diseases and disorders.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative public policy foundation, called the decision “a stinging rebuke to the Obama administration and its attempt to circumvent sound science and federal law.”

The NIH declined to comment, referring calls to the Justice Department, where department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the ruling was under review.

In his ruling, Lamberth said the injury of increased competition that Sherley and Deisher would face because of the guidelines “is not speculative. It is actual and imminent. Indeed, the guidelines threaten the very livelihood of plaintiffs Sherley and Deisher.”

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AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.