Judge Roger Vinson issues stay of own ruling

March 4, 2011


U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson put the health care reform law on a fast track to the Supreme Court on Thursday — giving the Obama administration just seven days to file an appeal and signaling to fellow jurists that the time for a decision is now.

Vinson called his order a stay, but the real message was clear: Hurry up.

“The battle lines have been drawn, the relevant case law marshaled and the legal arguments refined,” Vinson wrote. “It is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward.”

In one sense, the ruling was a victory for the Obama administration: It ended waves of confusion over whether states should continue working to implement the law. And in the hours after the ruling came down, some of the law’s strongest opponents, including Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, said that they had no choice but to go along.

But Vinson had plenty of harsh words for the White House, too, criticizing administration officials for waiting weeks before filing a motion to “clarify” the Jan. 31 ruling in which he held that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — and, therefore, the entire act — violated the Constitution.

“It was not expected that they would effectively ignore the order and declaratory judgment for 2½ weeks, continue to implement the act and, only then, file a belated motion to ‘clarify,’” Vinson wrote.

The Justice Department said it would quickly appeal — as Vinson said it must.

“We appreciate the court’s recognition of the enormous disruption that would have resulted if implementation of the Affordable Care Act was abruptly halted,” Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement. “We strongly disagree with the district court’s underlying ruling in this case and continue to believe — as three federal courts have found — that this law is constitutional.”

To read more, visit: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50596.html#ixzz1FdRFQv1I

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