Judge Orders Stay of His Ruling Against Health Law

by Rebecca Farley on March 4, 2011

Judge Roger Vinson of Florida this week issued a clarification of his earlier ruling against the health reform law, in which he struck down the law’s requirement that all individuals purchase health insurance.

Although Judge Vinson did not expressly issue an injunction against the law, some states had argued that his ruling meant they did not have to continue with reform implementation. As a result, the Department of Justice filed a request asking Judge Vinson to clarify whether he meant to halt the rollout of health reform.

On Thursday, Judge Vinson issued a clarification stating that implementation of health reform can continue in the 26 states that were parties to the lawsuit, under two conditions: First, the Obama administration must file its appeal of Vinson’s ruling within 7 days. Second, it must request an expedited review from either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

In his clarification, Vinson reasoned that it would be “extremely disruptive” to block the entire health reform law while the case moves through the court system. However, his conditions on the stay of his ruling sent a clear message to the federal government that it must act swiftly to appeal the law.

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