By: Matt McClainThe bill would protect individuals’ right to privacy, but not when it comes to DNA testing, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Mueller’s ruling comes after a coalition of genetic testing companies sued the Justice Department over the measure in federal court in Washington, D.C. “We disagree with Judge Mueller’s opinion, but will consider it in the context of the statute,” Genealogical Technology Inc., the coalition’s lead plaintiff, said in a statement.
“The court’s ruling today does not change the law or anything about the proposed law.”
Mueller wrote in his ruling that while he would not necessarily grant a plaintiff a preliminary injunction on the proposed genetic information privacy law, he found the plaintiffs’ claims “without merit.”
The Justice Department sued the coalition to block the bill from taking effect.
It argued that the law would unfairly burden private genetic testing laboratories.
The coalition argued that it was simply protecting genetic information that has been used to improve medicine, not discriminating against individuals.
Mueller said he would have allowed the case to go forward, if the plaintiffs had proven their case.
He wrote that the plaintiffs failed to show that their medical information is protected from discrimination, and that the legislation was unnecessary and would violate their rights.
Under the proposed legislation, genetic testing would be required for individuals who can demonstrate that they have “deep familial” or “neighborhood” ties.
Individuals with only a handful of relatives could not get genetic testing under the bill.
If a person is denied access to genetic testing because they have a history of having certain health conditions, for example, the law says that they could seek a waiver from the requirement.
The law would not apply to federal law enforcement officers who have “an obligation to protect life, property, health or safety of others.”
The coalition, which includes Ancestry.com Inc., and other genetic testing and genealogy companies, have said they want to see the legislation passed.
They argued that while the law has some merit, the bill’s provisions do not protect people with limited genetic ancestry.
The bill is similar to a bill the Obama administration announced in February that would require states to allow genetic testing for individuals over the age of 18.
The legislation has not been passed by Congress.