Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 8:34 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Judge Vinson delivers another blow to ObamaCare

By Jennifer Rubin

When U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson issued his ruling finding ObamaCare unconstitutional, liberals seemed to develop a reading comprehension problem. He plainly stated that the law is unconstitutional, but defenders of ObamaCare seemed not to grasp that the judge meant the government was obliged to follow that edict. Yesterday, Vinson blasted the administration, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

Judge Vinson said he believed his earlier ruling to be "plain and unambiguous," and said the federal government should have sought an immediate stay if it didn't believe it could comply with the judgment.

"It was not expected," the judge said, that the administration "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 said he had intended for his earlier ruling to bar the Obama administration from moving forward with the law, at least with respect to the parties in the case, which involved a legal challenge by 26 states, two individuals and the National Federation of Independent Business.

But, in a gesture of unearned leniency, Vinson gave the Obama administration a brief window to appeal: "Despite his criticism Thursday of the Obama administration's tactics, Judge Vinson said he would postpone the effect of the original ruling while the government appealed. However, he said the administration must file its appeal within seven days and seek expedited review at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta."

What to make of this? Hans von Spakovsky and Todd Gaziano of the Heritage Foundation write:

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 that 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.'"

Can we imagine the howls that would have gone up had the Bush administration acted with such brazen dishonesty and contempt for a court? But don't think the administration got off scot free here. Hardly:

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.

Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett, who has led the charge against the individual mandate, sent out a statement applauding the ruling. "The government's motion to 'clarify' gave Judge Vinson the opportunity to persuasively defend his initial ruling from criticism, while effectively compelling a fast-track appeal to the Eleventh Circuit. Another masterful opinion from a heroic judge."

In sum, the administration's feigned lack of understanding of the court's earlier ruling, a position egged on by the liberal cheerleaders for ObamaCare, has only served to speed up the next level of review of ObamaCare's constitutionality. Moreover, for an administration promising to "depoliticize" the administration of justice and to be faithful defenders of the rule of law, this episode shows the chasm between administration rhetoric and behavior.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 4, 2011; 8:34 AM ET
Categories:  Obamacare  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Bits
Next: Will Muslim Brotherhood control Egyptian religious institutions?

Comments

Unless I missed something, the Administration essentially got the result it wanted, a stay of the ruling.

I can only assume this column was written from Jennifer's alternate universe, where the Heritage Foundation is considered an unbiased source for news, and she peremptorily declares victory on a variety of subjects only to have reality eventually overtake her.

I'd also imagine if it was a Democrat-appointed Judge lashing out at a Bush Administration policy or law in this manner, you would have Jennifer screaming about judicial activism and demanding the Judge be impeached.

However, because it's Obama, the Judge is heroic and the Administration is devious with possibly evil intentions.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 4, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Who cares what any of the right wing appointed judges think or say anyways there are more rulings saying that Obamacare is constitutional and he is a shoe in for a second term. All these Repugnicans can do these days is try and make our nation unsuccessful and then blame the man cleaning their mess up. The right wing base is filled with bigots who still cannot believe a man of color is large and in charge. OBAMANOS!

Posted by: jbento | March 4, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"Unless I missed something, the Administration essentially got the result it wanted, a stay of the ruling."

Yes, you missed something.

Basically, Mom said, if you're not going to listen to me, you can go see your father right NOW.

Posted by: mgmax | March 4, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

This is good news. It is a violation of our Constitutional rights to have this law and there are better ways to provide health care for all people without bankrupting our nation. One thing we need is a reformation of the way Big Medicine and Big Litigation dictate how our health care is provided.

Posted by: DL13 | March 4, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

If obama care was legal it wouldn't have been passed with broken deals and backroom meetings. obama lied to the people and to the senators he made deals with. Remember Stupak? Major double cross there.
obama care is simply a ploy to install Socialism in America.

Posted by: vageorge | March 4, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

My congratulations to Judge Vinson in his unwavering honest opinion and decision. He is one of the few honorable judges that cannot be influenced or bribed by obama.

Posted by: vageorge | March 4, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"I can only assume this column was written from Jennifer's alternate universe, where the Heritage Foundation is considered an unbiased source for news, and she peremptorily declares victory on a variety of subjects only to have reality eventually overtake her."

Beautifully put. I was going to weigh in here, but nothing I have to say encapsulates reality as well as your statement.

J.Rubin is shaping up to be a one-trick pony. Echoes of Charlie Sheen. (#WINNING!)

Posted by: member8 | March 4, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@ member8...
you have made your silly statement now go cash your obama check. Someone must be influencing your opinion as it obvious that you have not done your homework. Judge Vinson ruling is legal based and to the point. As far as you attacking the writer of this article you evidently made another mistake as it is factual

Posted by: vageorge | March 4, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Haven't you heard? Barack Obama and Eric Holder will decide which laws are, or are not, constitutional. Pay no attention to a mere judge.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | March 4, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"Unless I missed something, the Administration essentially got the result it wanted, a stay of the ruling."

You missed something. The administration's strategy was to drag out the appeal process as long as possible in the hope that if the Supreme Court finds the law unconstitutional, they would not strike it down because the states would by that time have invested so much time and money that it would be overly burdensome to stop implementation. Now they have just seven days to file for expedited review, meaning that the matter would probably reach the Supreme Court and get decided within 30 days, 60 at most. The judge has given the administration just two choices. It can stand pat and 26 states can stop implementing the law seven days from now. Or they can file for an expedited appeal which means that if the Supremes find the law constitutional, the every state would have to continue implementing the law and if they the Court strikes the law down, then every state will be required to stop implementing the law the instant the decision is promulgated, probably no more than 60 days from now and perhaps sooner. Whatever the Court's final decision, the administration's game of stalling is finished.

Posted by: gschwim1 | March 4, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Is lack of reading comprehension a requirement for liberals? Good heavens. The lefties responding to this column seem to be as incapable of understanding plain English as the DOJ lawyers pretend to be.

The judge's original ruling clearly told the administration to stop implementing the law. Theh administration disobeyed, prompting the judge to repeat that order, this time giving the administration 7 days to act or be found in contempt.

There is no way a rational person can interpret this as a victory for the administration.

Posted by: mdeup | March 4, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I see Obama's "useful idiots" are all on this comment page as I speak. If these people would just step back and see how really stupid they talk they would be ashamed. But than again did you ever see a liberal of any stripe be ashamed of anything they ever do. They talk like they just won the last election when the GOP and the American voters threw out over 800 lefties nationwide. Live with it. Obama is next and the Supremes will outlaw socialism in the doctors office and hospitals. So for you libs, keep on being useful idiots. BwHAhahahahahahahahaha

Posted by: rchaa27aa | March 4, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Haven't you heard? Barack Obama and Eric Holder will decide which laws are, or are not, constitutional. Pay no attention to a mere judge.
************************
Haven't you heard? Three other federal judges have found the law to be constitutional.

Though based on some of these opinions, it sounds as if the only judges' decisions that matter are ones that happen to validate the particular poster's worldview.


Posted by: mustangs79 | March 4, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

rchaa27aa, requiring people to purchase a product from a private supplier is "Socialism?"

Perhaps you ought to google up the Second Militia Act of 1792. Apparently George Washington was a closet Socialist.

Perhaps you ought to also google up "Ask a Socialist." The president of Socialist Party USA was asked to weigh in on whether Obama is a Socialist.

Posted by: member8 | March 4, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Silly liberals. The opinion of a district court judge striking down the law is the supreme law of the land. The opinions of district court judges upholding the law can be ignored.

And this made my day. Thanks for the laugh:

"Now they have just seven days to file for expedited review, meaning that the matter would probably reach the Supreme Court and get decided within 30 days, 60 at most"

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | March 4, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@ rchaa27a
In the manner obama orchestrated this bill it is definitely Socialistic. The bill even includes a private "army" to enforce it. If you would research the bill you would realize that it is most definitely socialistic. I have attempted to read the entire health bill and it is an exhausting endeavor. No one has been able to interpret it. Probably why most that voted for it have not read it. It is similar to the IRS code.

Posted by: vageorge | March 4, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

On another note, Orly Taitz may have found the federal judge who will give her expedited discovery to go to Hawaii and get the birth certificate. Vinson's her guy.

Posted by: member8 | March 4, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

As usual, mustang79 did miss, not something, but everything. The administration got a one week stay pending an appeal. The administration wanted much more than a week. They have already had a couple of months to appeal but seemed to think it was in their best interests to ignore the ruling. That is no longer possible.

Mustang79 is a hoot.

Posted by: RickCaird | March 4, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

As usual, mustang79 did miss, not something, but everything. The administration got a one week stay pending an appeal. The administration wanted much more than a week. They have already had a couple of months to appeal but seemed to think it was in their best interests to ignore the ruling. That is no longer possible.

Mustang79 is a hoot.
***********************
Actually, try reading what I wrote. I said they wanted a stay, and were given a stay. I said nothing about the length of the stay.

I was disagreeing with Jennifer's premature declaration of victory and pointing out that other judges have made contradictory ruling. So acting as though that didn't happen because this particular ruling happens to validate your worldview is foolhardy.

Posted by: mustangs79 | March 4, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Haven't you heard? Barack Obama and Eric Holder will decide which laws are, or are not, constitutional. Pay no attention to a mere judge.

Will?

HAVE!

Ahhh, that pesky 100 years of bankruptcy law - pffttt.............

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 4, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

rchaa27aa, requiring people to purchase a product from a private supplier is "Socialism?"

Is authorizing the King's revenuers to access your private bank account at will from a certain POV socialism? Or worse?

Socialism is really mutated monarchy - ruling class, taking from the peasants, we just get better stuff now while they live high on our endeavors.

Old world mentality, modern toys.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 4, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps you ought to also google up "Ask a Socialist." The president of Socialist Party USA was asked to weigh in on whether Obama is a Socialist.

LOLOLOLOL if the expert deems it it must be the truth....

Well, associating w/Bill Ayers, Bernadette Dorn, J Wright & Frank Marshall Davis

suggests what then?

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | March 4, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

So, you want to call Obama a socialist, but you're not interested when the top socialist in the country is consulted to ask whether he's really a socialist?

Sounds like you're interested in trafficking untruths then.

Posted by: member8 | March 4, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Judge Vinson is NOT the ultimate authority on this matter. Two other federal judges have upheld the law. Vinson is nothing but a right-wing partisan activist judge. This case will be appealed and will ultimately be decided--and most likely upheld--by the Supreme Court.

Posted by: kevinsingh1 | March 4, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"mustang79" writes

"Though based on some of these opinions, it sounds as if the only judges' decisions that matter are ones that happen to validate the particular poster's worldview."

In the real world this is not quite true. What is almost certainly true is that the judicial decision that will count is that of the 9 justices of the SCOTUS.

contra one of the liberals here, the score of district judges finding Obamacare constitutional vs those finding it unconstitutional will not decide anything.

Why the US has this odd system, in which the SCOTUS has come to function as a super legislature is a question for another day, but we do have it.

And since on many issues the current court has fairly strong liberal and conservative blocks, often that means questions of great national import are decided by which block can win over Justice Kennedy.

I think Obamacare is a total mess, in fact barely even thought through, that major blunders were left unchanged when the democrats lost the 60 votes that would have allowed them to reconcile problems in a conference committee, that if it survives it will inevitably explode the deficit and reduce the quality of care, that is clearly unconstitutional to boot, and an outrage against the rights of free men. You may disagree. But if the question comes to the scotus before Nov 2012, they will decide if the law survives, not us.

We will get our say in Nov 2012.

Thankfully, despite the vaporings of "jbento", it is clearly false that Obama is a shoe in for re-election, just as it is equally false that his defeat is inevitable. "Events, dear boy" as Harold MacMillian said.

Posted by: mikem23 | March 4, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@kevinsingh1: "...This case will be appealed and will ultimately be decided--and most likely upheld--by the Supreme Court...." That is almost 100% unlikely. There are five at least Justices that have expressed similar opinions on the matter that brought Judge Vinson to his decision.

And the severability issue leads to his overall stance without a doubt. Further, the Administration's bad faith (when have we ever seen "good faith" by this totally corrupt Administration?) might even bring the total to 6-3. Suck it up, Progressives, your little world is going to come tumbling down on you.

Posted by: jafco | March 4, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Lets say for sake of discussion it is ruled unconstitutional and unseverable and all thrown out. That would put is squarely back where we came from, with insurance-industry death spirals, preexisting conditions, companies going broke paying their medical costs, cost of health care skyrocketing from its already double cost of all our economic competitors.

The business community cannot tolerate that state of affairs, and it will not. Something will have to give, and that something is likely to be Medicare for all.

Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: member8 | March 4, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

This judge's rulling that the entire law is invalid is not in compliance with existing constutional law; That states that if any part of a law is found to be unconstutional the rest of the law is allowed to remain on the books and is enforcable.

This judge sounds like a nut, living in his own bizzaro world (like most conservatives today do). He's just another partisan hack, basing his rulings on partisan concerns, and then trying to find dig something up or twist existing laws to support his partisain findings.

Posted by: gooch733 | March 4, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

And just exactly how does this Judge think he is going to enforce his order?

Posted by: notthatdum | March 5, 2011 12:52 AM | Report abuse

@notthatdum | March 5, 2011 12:52 AM

"...And just exactly how does this Judge think he is going to enforce his order?..."

Are you President Jackson? Or is that a treat? Maybe you're dumber than a pile of dog sh*t.

Posted by: jafco | March 5, 2011 1:25 AM | Report abuse

the post sure has some real twisted right wingers writing here. Or at least taking credit for passing along talking points. She should marry Krauthammer and raise some martians.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | March 5, 2011 4:31 AM | Report abuse

In his decision, Judge Vinson wrote, "After careful consideration of the factors noted above, and all the arguments set forth in the defendants’ motion to clarify, I find that the motion, construed as a motion for stay, should be GRANTED." (Judge Vinson's emphasis)

You would think that, based on the rhetoric of Jennifer Rubin and the Wall Street Journal, his finding was the opposite. So who has "a reading comprehension problem"?

Posted by: dmccanne | March 5, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

These Dems and liberals are something else aren't they? The law only applies to them when it fits them, otherwise they can ignore those laws and judges because of their need for "civil disobedience" or some other such malakey. Well, guess what? Even liberals and Obama-nuts have to obey the law...let's just count the days until Obamacare is put in the "dustbin of history".

Posted by: dcmowbray1 | March 5, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Are you President Jackson? Or is that a treat? "

Yes, you may have my gift of a complimentary spelling lesson, but only if you beg. No, better yet, fetch me my cider jug before I take the hair brush to you, mangy cur!

Posted by: aardunza | March 6, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Where is the win? Vincent allowed implementation to continue pending appeal. He may be trying to speed the case up, but the most he can accomplish is getting the government to file the appeal. The appellate court will proceed at it's own pace.

Vincent has played his hand and seemingly admits in his ruling that the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is just as likely as his unconstitutional ruling. Again, where is the win? Looks more like a loss to me.

Posted by: chucko2 | March 6, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company