Thursday, March 3, 2011

A very quick summary of the order

After summarizing his initial ruling, Judge Vinson's order today essentially does three things:
  1. It clarifies that his original declaratory judgment was indeed intended to have the practical effect of an injunction. Thus, of its own force, that judgment effectively enjoins the United States from implementing any part of the ACA, since the judgment declared the entire Act unconstitutional.
  2. It then treats the United States's motion to clarify as a motion for a stay of judgment pending appeal, and it evaluates that motion using the four traditional criteria: (1) whether the applicants have made a strong showing that they are likely to prevail; (2) whether the applicants will be irreparably injured if a stay is not granted; (3) whether granting the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) “where the public interest lies.”
  3. Applying those criteria, it concludes that (1) the United States (actually both sides) has made a strong showing that they will prevail; (2) both sides have shown possible irreparable injury, but the factor weighs in favor of a stay; (3) immediate halt could cause various problems to those not party to the suit, such as those trying to figure out the state of the law in Michigan, and the people of Washington state; and (4) the "public interest" lies in a speedy resolution of the controversy.
  4. Thus, it grants the United States a stay of judgment pending appeal contingent on two conditions: (1) that the United States files a notice of appeal within seven days, and (2) it seeks expedited appellate review of the district court's judgment, either in the Eleventh Circuit or at the Supreme Court, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 11 (as Virginia has done in Virginia v. Sebelius).
And that is essentially it--at least as to the substance. The tone is one of strong displeasure and frustration with the DOJ, bordering on contempt.