Today was the deadline for the government lawyers of the Obama Justice Department to file a brief in support of their weird motion to clarify in Florida v. HHS, and they produced a doozy. Their basic claim is that, when Vinson ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional, he did not grant the plaintiffs an injunction halting implementation of the “reform” law.

But, when Vinson granted the 26 states suing the government “declaratory relief,” he explicitly wrote that it was 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.” The DOJ ignored that part of the ruling and focused on the alleged actions of the plaintiffs:

Despite plaintiffs’ claim that the declaratory judgment operates as an immediately effective injunction, their statements and actions are consistent with defendants’ understanding.

Even if this were true—and it isn’t—it is irrelevant. In fact, the word “irrelevant” pretty much sums up the rest of the DOJ’s brief. It maunders on and on about “the impact” of an injunction on the law’s “hundreds of provisions,” alleged “uncertainties” about which entities are covered by the judgment, and the DOJ’s own “understanding” of its “anticipated effect.”

The DOJ’s brief also makes much of of how “extraordinarily disruptive” an injunction would be to the process of implementing ObamaCare. Well … er … that’s kinda the point isn’t it? This is like saying to a judge, “You didn’t really sentence me to ten years in prison for bank robbery because that would be really disruptive to my career as a violent criminal.”

None of this nonsense changes the obvious fact that Vinson meant for the government to halt implementation of ObamaCare unless and until a higher court overruled him. These people are really begging for it. And I think the judge is going to give it to them—with both barrels.

Comments 2

  1. nyp wrote:

    Under existing appellate procedure rules the US has until approximately the end of March to file its appeal of the ruling. Judge Vinson’s new order gives the government until March 10. They will certainly comply with that Order. So it speeds up the appeal process by about 20 days.

    Posted 05 Mar 2011 at 10:38 am
  2. John Sheller, Louisv wrote:

    Not so sure nyp is correct. The “motion to clarify” is not a motion that would suspend the running of the original appeal deadline. It came and went, so Judge Vinson’s original order is final. Appeal should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

    Posted 10 Mar 2011 at 4:11 pm

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