“Clarification” order scolds DOJ to hurry up, then gives license to implement a law he deems unconstitutional
The only hope We the People had of preventing the solidification of socialized medicine pending a definitive ruling on President Barack Obama’s signature hope and change law no less than two years from now by the nation’s highest court, died last week at the hands of the man that had threatened to kill the administration’s assault on private health insurance dead in its tracks.
Federal U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson had declared the entire health care bill unconstitutional, null and void on January 31, thus presenting the prospect that before the tentacles of the federal government could wrap themselves around one-sixth of the U.S. economy it would have to first prove its case to at least five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
A month passed in which several of the 26 State plaintiffs in the Florida case declared they would no longer implement the law Judge Vinson declared unconstitutional as Attorney General Eric Holder treated the 78-page order as no more consequential than a New York Times op-ed. Last month, Obama’sDepartment of Justice interrupted their contempt of Vinson’s jurisprudence by adding insult to injury with a motion to “clarify”, rather than take the usual course and ask for a “stay” of the ruling.
Judge Vinson filed a 20-page opinion today responding to the motion seeking clarification, and I find it pretty remarkable. I think it’s fair to say that Judge Vinson was not happy with DOJ. First, much of the new opinion is written as a rather defensive summary of his earlier opinion and, at times, a response to critics. Vinson then decided on his own to treat the motion for clarification as a motion for a stay, and then he granted his motion for a stay with an important condition: DOJ must file its appeal in seven days, and DOJ must then request an expedited appeal in the circuit court. This seems pretty unusual to me, given that DOJ wasn’t even seeking a stay from Judge Vinson. The pace of appellate litigation is normally up to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the litigants, and the Court of Appeals judges — not a district court judge.
Conservatives are supposed to be happy that the good judge harshly scolded Holder’s lawyers and required that they file an “expedited” appeal. Given all the legal maneuverings available in appeals to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Vinson may have trimmed a few weeks off a process that will likely last for no less than 18 months.
Maybe Judge Vinson knew that the 11th Circuit would have issued a stay, and so was doing what he thought was the best he could do under the circumstances. But it is not his job to help plaintiff lawyers along the appeals process.
His job was to pass judgment on the constitutionality of ObamaCare and prescribe a remedy appropriate to that determination.
Judge Vinson determined that the federal government hasn’t the power to regulate health care by forcing Americans to buy a private insurance policy or be fined. Yet, he decided its OK for them to implement an unconstitutional law pending appeal.
Judge Vinson let us down.
Legal Editor - The Minority Report
Atlanta Law & Politics columnist for Examiner.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
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