Monty Pelerin's World

Economics, Finance and Politics Through The Prism of Classical Liberalism

ObamaCare Showdown with Judge Vinson

In a post a couple of days ago entitled ObamaCare -- The Final Straw That Keeps on Giving I speculated on the possibility of impeachment for violation of the oath of office for any Congressperson voting to expend funds on what was declared an unconstitutional law. Subsequent to that post, the mainstream media reported that Judge Vinson had granted a motion for stay. It is likely, if all you read was the "Pravda" version of the news that you might believe that the Judge Vinson has blinked and the Administration has been relieved of any responsibility pertaining to his first ruling. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Administration is brazen in its words and actions. Judge Vinson was obviously angry in his second opinion. He should be because as Avik Roy states (my emboldening):
Judge Vinson acknowledges that other judges have upheld the law, and that none of us know how Obamacare will fare at the Supreme Court. But this much we do know: The stakes in this case are as high as any in the last 35 years. Will we have a federal government with unlimited powers, including the authority to regulate “mental activity”? Or will the Supreme Court find that the Constitution still contains one or two constraints on federal power?
From the Constitution and The Rule of Law flow all the greatness and goodness of this country. Without them, we are finished. For this reason, it looks as if Judge Vinson served up an ultimatum rather than backing off as conveyed via the mainstream media. Karl Denninger, in his inimitable fashion, has his usual no-holds barred take:

Now We're Cooking: Judge Vinson

If you remember, I questioned whether Obama was crossing the line into sedition with his statement that he intended to ignore a declaratory judgment. Well, they apparently (after stalling) asked the Judge for a stay, and got something a bit different than they asked for in reply. Judge Vinson began with:
My order of January 31, 2011 (Order), granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs (in part); held the individual mandate provision of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Act) unconstitutional; and declared the remainder of the Act void because it was not severable. The defendants have now filed a motion to clarify this ruling (doc. 156) (Def. Mot.). During the four-plus weeks since entry of my order, the defendants have seemingly continued to move forward and implement the Act.

Yep.  That's exactly what Obama did - he basically gave you the finger Judge.

As Judge Vinson continues...

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 Courts order as requiring them to immediately cease [implementing and enforcing the Act]. See Def. Mot. at 4; see also id. at 6 (we do not understand the Courts declaratory judgment of its own force to relieve the parties to this case of any obligations or deny them any rights under the Act). They have reportedly continued with full implementation of the Act.

They sure have.  How's that middle finger look to you, Judge Vinson?

A litigant who tries to evade a federal courts judgment --- and a declaratory judgment is a real judgment, not just a bit of friendly advice --- will come to regret it. Badger Catholic, Inc. v. Walsh, 620 F.3d 775, 782 (7th Cir. 2010).

Oh, I think I'm starting to get the picture here - you're a wee bit pissed.  Well, I would be too.

So to clarify my order and judgment: The individual mandate was declared unconstitutional. Because that essential provision was unseverable from the rest of the Act, the entire legislation was void. This declaratory judgment was expected to be treated as the practical and functional equivalent of an injunction with respect to the parties to the litigation. This expectation was based on the longstanding presumption that the defendants themselves identified and agreed to be bound by, which provides that a declaratory judgment against federal officials is a de facto injunction. To the extent that the defendants were unable (or believed that they were unable) to comply, it was expected that they would immediately seek a stay of the ruling, and at that point in time present their arguments for why such a stay is necessary, which is the usual and standard procedure. 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.6

One sentence reduction: Up your ass with your dishonest argument, Mr. President.

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. However, the stay will be conditioned upon the defendants filing their anticipated appeal within seven (7) calendar days of this order and seeking an expedited appellate review, either in the Court of Appeals or with the Supreme Court under Rule 11 of that Court. See, e.g., NML Capital Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, 2005 WL 743086, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2005) (district court granted motion to stay its own ruling, conditioned on as prompt as possible appeal and a motion for an expedited appeal).

Reduction: You can have your stay.

But - you must either shit or get off the pot.  Right now.