An irritated federal judge who ruled the entire health care reform law unconstitutional on Jan. 31 now has issued a stay of his ruling on the condition that the Obama Administration file an appeal within seven days as of March 4, and seek an expedited appellate review either in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals or Supreme Court.

U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson, senior judge in the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, granted the conditional stay but made clear his frustration with the Administration's efforts to continue implementing provisions of the law since the initial ruling.

Vinson in his March 4 order of stay, available here on the Politico Web site, said his initial ruling clearly was a declaratory judgment that has the force and effect of a final judgment unless changed on appeal. "For the defendants to suggest that they were entitled (or that in the weeks after my order was issued they thought they might be entitled) to basically ignore my declaratory judgment until 'after appellate review is exhausted' is unsupportable in the law," he wrote.

--Joseph Goedert


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