The Obama DOJ is a truly Orwellian outfit. In addition to their bizarre claim that the Constitution’s commerce clause allows Congress to penalize people for not engaging in economic activity, they also want Judge Roger Vinson to tell the states that his January ruling doesn’t say what it says:
The Justice Department asked a federal judge in Florida on Thursday to tell states that they must continue to enact the Obama administration’s health care overhaul despite the judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional.
This is weird stuff folks. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago in the American Spectator, Judge Vinson awarded the plaintiffs in the Florida lawsuit “declaratory relief”:
This, as the judge phrased it, is the ‘functional equivalent of an injunction’ because there is a presumption that ‘officials of the Executive Branch will adhere to the law as declared by the court.’
But the Obama administration isn’t into the whole adherence thing. Thus, Justice Department lawyers went back to court and asked Vinson to issue a “clarification”:
In a motion to clarify, administration attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to make clear that states cannot ignore the new health care laws while his ruling is being appealed.
When the Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration in 2004 and again in 2006 by ruling that enemy combatants must be afforded impartial trials and that these trials must have congressional authorization, Mr. Bush accepted the judiciary as a coequal authority and complied.
The current occupant of the White House, on the other hand, believes he’s above the law. Thus, he wants to force the states to disobey the ruling. Several states including have said they won’t do it:
Some states, citing Vinson’s ruling, have refused to cooperate with the health care law. For example, earlier Thursday in Alaska, Gov. Sean Parnell said he would not implement the new law because Vinson ruled it was unconstitutional.
The reason, of course, that Vinson declared the law unconstitutional involves its individual mandate and accompanying financial penalty. But that well known constitutional scholar, Sheila Jackson Lee, advises us that the latter really isn’t a penalty. It is, she tells us, actually an incentive.
As I say, these people constitute a monument to George Orwell’s prescience.