On Jan 31 Judge Roger Vinson threw out the entire Obamacare bill, based on the unconstitutionality of the mandate to purchase insurance. The government’s reaction to the ruling was to stall by asking the Judge to clarify his ruling. Last week they got their clarification right between the eyes, as the Judge agreed to stay his ruling only if the DOJ files an appeal of his ruling either to a superior court or to the Supreme Court and they ask that the case be expedited.
In his ruling, Vinson repeated what he has said previously — that “the citizens of this country have an interest in having this case resolved as soon as practically possible.”
“That was nearly eleven months ago,” he wrote. “In the time since, the battle lines have been drawn, the relevant case law marshaled, and the legal arguments refined. Almost everyone agrees that the constitutionality of the Act is an issue that will ultimately have to be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward.”
Judge Vinson put on hold on the Obama Administration game of playing slow down, or at least he tried. The DOJ continued to slow things down. While they did file for expedited review by the Wednesday deadline
“the Administration’s motion to expedite the appellate briefing requests a timeline that is still too slow,” and the motion also claimed that if opposing counsel appealed any of the claims they lost below, then the Justice Department would need more time for briefing.
How slow was the proposed briefing schedule? As the lawyers for the states and the NFIB noted in their response, the DOJ’s “proposed briefing schedule is identical to the ordinary, non-expedited briefing periods” set forth in the federal rules. So much for expedition.
That was until the 11th Circuit respond to the DOJ’s filing.
Not only did it reject the DOJ’s slow-walk schedule, but it implemented an even more expedited schedule than the one requested by Obamacare’s challengers! All briefs are scheduled to be filed by May 25, 2011. The court also rejected the government’s contention that it would need more time if the states brought a cross appeal. And the court was firm in its schedule, clarifying that “[n]o extensions of this briefing schedule will be granted.” Finally, the court noted that the request for full court review was still pending, and that the resolution of that motion would not affect the expedited briefing schedule.
The Obama administration is still playing games, but hopefully the courts are on to their game. The reason for the administration’s slow-down strategy is two-fold. First it is much easier for governments to build bureaucratic systems than tear them down. The longer it takes for a final decision on Obamcare, the more developed the supporting systems and the harder it will be to tear them down. The hope here is the same, the arrogant stance that those stupid common people who don’t understand their bill, will finally appreciate that government knows best, the closer to final implementation the plan gets.