PENSACOLA, Fla. – A federal judge who declared President Barack Obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled Thursday that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the courts.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson was responding to a request from Obama administration attorneys who sought to ensure Florida and 25 other states follow the law until their challenge to it is resolved.
Three other federal judges have upheld the law and a fourth in Virginia has ruled against it, but that ruling is also on hold until appeals are heard. The issue is widely expected to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Thursday's ruling, Vinson admonished the administration for being slow to appeal and for asking him to clarify his ruling instead of filing a motion to put it on hold. Still, he said, it is in the nation's best interest for states to continue following the law for now.
"It would be extremely disruptive and cause significant uncertainty" to halt implementation, he wrote.
However, if the federal government does not appeal within seven days, the states can consider the law invalid, he wrote.
Vinson ruled the massive overhaul unconstitutional in January, saying the federal government had overstepped its authority to regulate interstate commerce by requiring nearly all Americans to carry health insurance.
He said lawmakers do not have the power to penalize citizens for not doing something.
But he wrote in Thursday's ruling that other judges will probably disagree with him.
"It is likely that the Court of Appeals will also reach divergent results and that, as most court-watchers predict, the Supreme Court may eventually be split on this issue as well," he wrote.
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement that the government would promptly appeal Vinson's ruling and seek an expedited review.
"There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Affordable Care Act and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal," she said.
Other states that joined Florida in filing the lawsuit were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Answer by UpSheRises at 3:50 PM on Mar. 3, 2011
Answer by Anonymous at 4:01 PM on Mar. 3, 2011
The stay is only good for seven days.... Unless the DoJ files an expedited appeal within the seven-day limit.... Thoughts? IMO~ This FORCES the DoJ to do their job...
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 4:19 PM on Mar. 3, 2011
Obamacare was not designed to help out the insurance co. They made it so the fines the companies have to pay is cheaper then buying insurance for their employees. It is all designed to get rid of insurance co. and go to a single payer system.
Obama himself said we may not get there right away (single payer), but we will get there.
Answer by Natesmom507 at 4:43 PM on Mar. 3, 2011
Answer by janet116 at 9:20 PM on Mar. 3, 2011