American Elephants

Judge Vinson to the DOJ — Yes, I Meant Just What I Said! by The Elephant's Child

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

Judge Vinson’s original order on January 31 was a model of clarity. ” He declared the entire law unconstitutional and specifically said that because he presumed the 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.”

The Obama administration waited more than two weeks and then filed an insulting motion that essentially said that the federal government would not comply with the judgment unless Judge Vinson issued another order “clarifying” that he actually meant what he said — that the executive branch was enjoined from implementing this unconstitutional law.  This was a political move, not a serious legal motion.

Judge Vinson said that “if the government was really unable to understand his original order, it 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.”

Judge Vinson reaffirmed that he meant exactly what he said. DOJ lawyers said the reason for delay was that the order needed “careful analysis”, yet this was contrary to media reports, “the White House had declared within hours after entry of [Vinson’s] order that implementation will proceed apace regardless of the ruling.” Judge Vinson added that the government’s legal citation borders on misrepresentation.

In order to avoid a further delay, the judge interpreted the administration’s request for “clarification” as a request for a stay, which he granted for just seven days.  If the government fails to file an appeal within seven days, then all work to implement the law must stop.

The appeals process would normally take much longer, but Judge Vinson has challenged the federal government to speed up the appeals process.  The administration has been attempting to stall as much as possible so that as much of ObamaCare can be implemented before it gets to the Supreme Court as possible.   This is a serious loss for the government.

Also on Thursday, the House voted to repeal the law’s 1099 provision which would have required business owners to file a 1099 tax form with the IRS for every vendor that sells them $600 worth of goods or services, creating an unsupportable burden for business for no purpose.  75 Democrats joined the 238 Republicans in voting to kill the mandate, and the president said he will sign the legislation.


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