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  • Judge Vinson to Obama: Speed up the Appeal or Stop Implementing Obamacare

    Justice for John Yoo and Jay Bybee

    The Obama administration got a well-deserved rebuke today from Judge Roger Vinson in the Florida lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare (aka the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Judge Vinson issued a new order in response to a bizarre and obtuse “motion to clarify” that the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed on February 17.

    Vinson’s original order on January 31 could not have been clearer: He declared the entire law unconstitutional and specifically said that, because he presumed that officials of the executive branch would adhere to the law as declared by a court, his declaratory judgment striking the law down was the functional equivalent of an injunction. Judge Vinson wrote then that he presumed that the executive branch would follow his order, which any lawyer (including a lawyer President) would know requires them to cease implementing Obamacare with respect to the 26 states that are plaintiffs and the National Federation of Independent Business. That turned out to be a faulty presumption, indeed.

    After waiting more than two weeks, the Obama Administration filed an insulting motion that essentially said the federal government would not comply with the judgment unless Judge Vinson issued another order “clarifying” that he really meant what he said: that the executive branch was enjoined from implementing this unconstitutional law. This was a political motion, not a legal motion that any serious litigator would file. In fact, Judge Vinson said that if the government was really unable to understand his original order, “[i]t was not expected that they would effectively ignore the order and declaratory judgment for two and one-half weeks, continue to implement the Act, and only then file a belated motion to ‘clarify.’”

    Vinson indirectly pointed out the Administration’s bad faith when he noted that DOJ lawyers said in their reply brief that the reason for the delay was because Vinson’s order needed “careful analysis.” Yet this was “contrary to media reports that the White House declared within hours after entry of [Vinson's] order that ‘implementation will proceed apace’ regardless of the ruling.” Judge Vinson also wrote of the government’s legal citation in its most recent motion “borders on misrepresentation.”

    So today, Judge Vinson reaffirmed that he meant it when he said the law was unconstitutional and that he had expected the executive branch to abide by his decision. Judge Vinson said the language in his original order “seems to be plain and unambiguous. Even though I expressly declared that the entire Act was ‘void,’ and even though I emphasized that ‘separate injunctive relief is not necessary’ only because it must be presumed that ‘the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court,’ which means that ‘declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction,’ the defendants have indicated that they ‘do not interpret the Court’s order as requiring them to immediately cease [implementing and enforcing the act].’” The judge was obviously annoyed that the government has “reportedly continued with full implementation.” He went on to “clarify” his order that he expected his declaratory judgment to “be treated as the ‘practical’ and ‘functional equivalent of an injunction.’”

    The plaintiffs had asked the judge to treat the DOJ’s motion to “clarify” as a motion for a stay and to deny the motion. Judge Vinson did treat the motion to clarify as a motion to stay his earlier judgment but then offered a clever compromise to the Obama Administration: He granted a stay for seven days but only on the condition that the Administration file an appeal within that period that requests expedited appellate review, either in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit or in the Supreme Court. Judge Vinson also noted that the appeal could be expedited because the briefing on the underlying legal issues was already submitted in his court.

    This is a serious strategic loss for the government. Judge Vinson has challenged the federal government to speed up the appeals process, which would normally take much longer, forcing the hand of the Administration, which would like to slow down the litigation through questionably legal tactics if it can get away with it so it can implement as much of Obamacare as possible before it gets to the Supreme Court. And it is also a clever suggestion to the appellate courts that will next hear these claims: The Administration’s dilatory tactics should not trump the rule of law. As Judge Vinson correctly observed, “[i]t is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward as soon as practically possible.” Important to everyone except the Obama Administration.

    Co-authored by Todd Gaziano.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Judge Vinson to Obama: Speed up the Appeal or Stop Implementing Obamacare

    1. OhioHistorian says:

      If President Obama is really an attorney, and if he ignored a declaratory judgment, can he be held personally responsible for the funds that were lost by continuing to implement the law in defiance of the declaratory judgement? I figure that is about $12 million/day of cost ($5 billion/365 days). I am sure that he can write us that type of check. If he can't, maybe George Soros will give him a loan?

      The point is that the President may not like the decision, but he is the chief executive and has to enforce all laws, even those laws he dislikes. Immigration and Defense of Marriage leap to mind.

    2. ed goebel says:

      No. Although the appeal process can be hurried along, there is no reason the Supreme Court must immediately take up the case, and it might even choose to ignore this case and select one of the other challenges coming up through the courts. I will be glad when this is resolved one way or the other – I am tired of the very biased reporting on both sides of the issue.

    3. Helmut, Baltimore says:

      I thought for a while that the judicial branch was quietly yielding into insignificance. I'm sooo glad to see some spunk and will to survive. It gives me great hope that our constitution will raise its formidable head and reassert itself as the magnificent foundation of this great nation! My soul is beginning to glow with patriotic pride!

    4. Carol, Everett, MA says:

      Judge Vinson is my new hero. I was thrilled when he said that the Commerce Clause of The Constitution made the bill unconstitutional. He's tough and the Obama admin acts tough but does not have the brains behind the brawn.

      Obama should give it up but his ego is too big.

    5. Patrick, Canton, MI says:

      Well said! Just as with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the real issue is whether the Administration will follow the rule of law. The Administration is free to disagree with Judge Vinson's opinion and order, but it's option in that case is to appeal — not disobey by stalling.

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      I like the fortitude of Judge Vinson. We need more like him.

    7. Jill, California says:


      Go, Judge Vinson!

    8. Pingback: Florida Political Press » Blog Archive » Judge Vinson To Obama: Speed Up The Appeal Or Stop Implementing Obamacare

    9. Scot, New Jersey says:

      Judge Vinson already was my hero…now even more so. can the Federal courts have members of the DOJ or the administration arrested if they don't comply?

    10. Melvin Chapman Wenat says:

      Republicans in the House should block all attempts by the Obama administration to implement Obama care and also take immediate action against the stopping of oil production in Gulf.

    11. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      So if DOJ files an appeal with the 11th circuit or the Supreme Court by next Thursday, is Vinson's ruling stayed and HHS allowed to continue implementing Obamacare during the appeals process and up until a ruling from one of those courts upholding his finding? How quickly can Vinson's ruling, or any district court ruling for that matter, force the appellate court to review the case?

      If DOJ does not file an appeal by next Thursday, is the stay lifted, must HHS cease implementation, and are they then held in contempt of court with citations and warrants issued?

      I hope the appeals process is quick because the states are implementing it one day, holding back the next and here they are implementing it once again. Between this issue and others in the private sector, such as regulations fast-tracked or on hold and short-term tax rate extensions, I see a break down in the civil society, and it's a shame. Shame on you, federal government!

    12. Los says:

      Ed Goebels at the tune of about $12 million dollars wasted per day ($5 billion/365 days) it would behoove the Supreme Court to take up this appeal immediately. Especially when obamacare is forced and unconstitutional. Otherwise repayment of the wasted outlay can be "spread between the Court Justices and the Court jester in Chief.

    13. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Judge Vinson is my HERO! It is more than borderline misrepresentation, what the Administration has done and is doing! These guys are so fixed in their determination to Not Represent, that is force their Commie scheme on the American People, so fixed it is really the Criminal Act of failing their Oaths to Protect and Defend the Constitution! I read Vinson's Ruling in the first instance, it was beautifully reasoned and well written. There can be no doubt the Administration does not want to understand. "Clarify" is nothing but more rope a dope from a Domestic Enemy and their Coconspirators bent on destroying our Nation.

      Judge Bill Bontrager (Colo Dist Courts) is another of my Judicial Heroes, he stood up against Zero Tolerance Policies! The Demo Crats ran him out of Office with False Prosecutions but Bontrager beat the charges. It is perfectly clear to me that Zero Tolerance is all Unconstitutional! But you know, bring evidence of your perfidy into Court? The Judge can order a Grand Jury! I think that is what Judge Vinson ought to do! Prosecute these villians who think they are above the Law! Evidence of the Crime of non Representation and the Crime of Refraining Prosecution is there in Court! Then it is also Conspiracy for a Crime no less than Destroying America! Yes, Bankruptcy is destruction.

      You go! Judge! Very Well Done!

    14. Bobbie says:

      No wonder the youth live as if responsibility is a thing of the past. No reason to follow the rules. Part of the indoctrinated curriculum.

      The kids TODAY, are learning, the more incompetence the higher the pay. The President and his administration show perfectly incompetent examples.

      We thank the judge for standing for the law and insisting it be followed by those that are in authority and beyond the people's control. This authority runs on lawlessness. What an ugly display of leadership of this once beautiful country.


      only they can control their actions and only they should suffer the consequences of their actions.

    15. Corky, Howey in the says:

      It is how our laws were intented to work. This is why our Constitution works! That and for the Brave men and woman who will up hold that rule of law. We the People will not be forced into a "socialist" populance. Let this be an inportant lesson to all and let's make this administration a one term affair. Let's get our Country back to being a respected Nation.

    16. may says:

      Judge Vinson, my new HERO! Thank you!

    17. may says:

      Yes all, we are pushing our new Governors, Senators and officials hard! So far this is what happening-

      The Train bill was just killed…Two congressman including a Republican tired to sue over this and lost. NO TRAIN!

      The healthcare issue-Baker pushing Freedom from Healthcare Act as further protection to our state.

      Drilling-Coming soon!

      Green agenda-along with EPA-shrink to miniscule/Protect our state from Global warming agenda. Shut down Agenda 21!

    18. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      May, how about we Defund the EPA? I'll bet you could balance the budget in one stroke at the same time you stop Obama's Shadow Government! Two looney birds with one stone! DEFUND the whole wretched Obama Dictatorship.

    19. Pingback: Judge Vinson to the DOJ — Yes, I Meant Just What I Said! « American Elephants

    20. Mark Simmons, CA says:

      This is the latest of a looooonnnnng list of attempts by the Obama Administration to ignore or subvert the law and Constitution of this land. They aren't the only ones who have done this, but this is the most slippery of slopes we can be upon. One of the fundamentals that separates us from third world countries is our respect for laws. Once our government stops respecting laws, the collapse of our freedoms and all we hold precious is imminent.

    21. Mark Simmons, CA says:

      I would add that I expect that the Obama Administration is looking for some political 'third option' instead of the two clear choices Judge Vinson has presented. These people have shown themselves to be radical ideologues who will do almost anything to see the socialist/Marxist agenda they believe in come about.

      Why any American would ever think that putting socialists, Marxists, and card carrying communists in charge of a constitutional republic is a 'good idea' is beyond me. Of course they are trying to overthrow our form of government. The only difference between them and the communists, dictators and terrorists we've fought for over one hundred years is that they are doing so from within.

    22. Pingback: Obama Administration Files Appeal in Florida v. HHS | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    23. Pingback: UPDATE: DOJ Asks for Expedited Review of Obamacare Loss | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    24. Chris, CA says:

      Wow, you guys are an interesting bunch. Communism and Socialism are not forms of government, they are economic models, like capitalism. They have been implemented in ways that are undemocratic, but they are not themselves forms of government.

      The dictators, or single political party systems that implemented them have been the biggest issue. To keep the dictators and single parties in power, they rights of the people were oppressed, no free speech, no freedom to assemble, no way to exercise your opinion. This country is on a similar path, We struggle every election cycle to the Right pulls tighter and tighter on the reigns towards single party rule. It's Karl Rove's goal, and people are easily falling for it. The day the ideas stop in this country, the day there is only one side of a conversation due to the bullying of the other is the day the dream of the founders dies. They were of the age of enlightenment. Read the writings of their contemporaries, read what and who inspired them, don't listen to the folks on the Right and let them interpret it for you. You are really missing the bigger picture.

    25. Don Henry says:

      Any program or heart felt help from the Federal Government should always be looked at with a coutious spirit. I have a great and new idea why not have the Fed. Gov. do what it is supposed to do like control the southeren border so our own citizens can live without fear of there life.

      Do what the constitution says and stay out of our homes, churches, schools and life. Cut your salary in half, do the peoples work then adjourn and go back home and support your family. Your service to the people was not meant to be a coushy life long endeavor.

      Close down the dept. of education and let the states control thier schools ans see that thier children get propper education, we do not need that behemoth money waisting insttution

    26. Pingback: Did Obama Finally Accept That He Lost the Obamacare Lawsuit? | The Conservative Papers

    27. Pingback: ObamaCare is a Bad Bill and Wrong for America | RedState

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