Monday, February 28, 2011

U.S. reply in Florida v. HHS

Late today, the DOJ filed its "Reply in Support of Defendant's Motion to Clarify." You can access the brief here.

The brief makes five basic arguments (and I'm quoting from its headings):

1. Despite plaintiffs’ claim that the declaratory judgment operates as an immediately effective injunction, their statements and actions are consistent with defendants’ understanding.

2. Neither plaintiffs nor the [district court] addressed the impact of treating the [district court’s] declaration as an injunction immediately effective as to the hundreds of provisions of the ACA, a fact that further supports defendants’ understanding.

3. The difficulties with plaintiffs’ position are compounded by the uncertainties about who is entitled to rely on the judgment.

4. Defendants’ understanding of the anticipated effect of the [district court’s] order is consistent with the position defendants took in their brief on the merits.

5. It is appropriate for defendants to have analyzed the [district court’s] order and now to seek clarification.

How Judge Vinson ultimately responds to this "Motion to Clarify" will be quite interesting--perhaps the most interesting subplot yet to develop in this web of litigation.