The Obama Administration through the Justice Department has filed a motion for an expedited appeal of a Jan. 31 federal district court order that ruled the entire health care reform law unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson, senior judge in the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, on March 4 granted a conditional stay of his order, but chastised the Administration for continuing to implement provisions of the law since the initial ruling. Vinson issued the stay on the condition that the 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.

The Administration filed its motion with the Court of Appeals and suggested a schedule that could have the court hearing oral arguments in June or July. That could result in the Supreme Court getting the case late this year or in early 2012, according to CNN.

Vinson in his March 4 order of stay 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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