Obamacare

Alaska Governor on ObamaCare: "We will not proceed down an unlawful course to implement it."

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Citing Judge Roger Vinson's decision voiding the whole of last year's health care overhaul after finding the law's health insurance mandate unconstitutional, Alaska's Republican Governor Sean Parnell has said that the state will not pursue the development of health insurance exchanges. According to Parnell:

"The Florida court's declaratory judgment that the federal health care law is unconstitutional is the 'law of the land' as it applies to Alaska, and we will not proceed down an unlawful course to implement it."

Of course, as I noted earlier in the month, the actual meaning of Vinson's ruling has been somewhat foggy. Vinson did not issue a formal injunction, but suggested in his ruling that his declaratory judgment would effectively function as if he had. The federal government more or less ignored this suggestion, and did not immediately take action to clarify the meaning and practical effects of the ruling. That changed yesterday when the Department of Justice announced that it would request a clarification from Vinson:

The Justice Department on Thursday asked the Florida judge who struck down the health care overhaul to declare that the law must still be obeyed…In his ruling, Vinson implied that the government did not have the authority to enforce an unconstitutional law.

"We believe it is important to put to rest any doubts about the ability of states and other parties to continue to implement these critical programs and consumer protections provided under this statute," Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said.

Ilya Shapiro and Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute have made a fairly convincing case that the ruling should put a stop to the implementation of the law. Looks like we'll know for sure soon enough.

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  1. Today would be as good a day as any for Vinson hold the administration in contempt of court.

    1. No, not yet. They asked for a clarification, the clarifications should be “Any attempts to enforce or implement the law will put the enforcer or implementer in contempt of court”.

      That should be the entirety of the clarification.

      1. In other words, clarify today, hold in contempt on Monday.

        1. Gotta have something to look forward to when the weekend is over.

      2. Actually, I think the clarification should simply be:

        “What is it about the word “void” you do not understand”?

      3. No, not yet. They asked for a clarification, the clarifications should be “Any attempts to enforce or implement the law will put the enforcer or implementer in contempt of court”.

        The problem is absent an injunction, there is no basis for contempt of court.

    2. News flash: Obama is already in contempt of court for refusing judge Martin Feldman’s order to lift his illegal “moratorium” on offshore drilling.

      The man is a little dictator who has contempt for the rule of law. I seriously doubt yet another declaration of contempt from another judge is going to make a whole lot of difference.

      1. I feel like we’re only a few interviews away from a “when the president does it, that means it is not illegal”-esque argument for why Obama doesn’t have to cease implementing a law that has been deemed unconstitutional.

  2. Parnell just might turn Obama into America’s own Gorbachev. More power to him, I say.

  3. The Justice Department on Thursday asked the Florida judge who struck down the health care overhaul to declare that the law must still be obeyed

    Ya know, I’ve got legal training and lots of experience in the field, and I’m use to seeing legalese that sounds weird, but makes sense when you think about it . . .

    and that still sounds to me like complete gibbersih

      1. I linked to the explicit lyrics version, if you care.

        1. “I was just upstairs listenin to my Will Smith CD’s and saw the flames..”

          Classic. Shady rules.

    1. Doesn’t make any danged sense to me, either. Appeal. Stay. Right?

      Is the administration scared of an appeal? Is that what this is about? Does it want to try to get as much of the law implemented before getting before the SCOTUS to get some kind of fait accompli advantage? Don’t think that will help, to be honest.

      1. I heard they don’t dare appeal because of the ramifications of losing. I don’t recall exactly why an appeal loss is so damaging, but someone here probably does.

        1. Don’t appeal, don’t enforce. It’s that simple.

        2. I heard they don’t dare appeal because of the ramifications of losing. I don’t recall exactly why an appeal loss is so damaging, but someone here probably does.

          By losing, the ruling will be operative law throughout the circuit.

          Right now, the ruling only applies between plaintiffs and defendants.

  4. So they want this judge to say that everyone has to follow a law he deemed unconstitutional? It boggles the mind…

    1. Your tax dollars at work!!!!

  5. I think the clarification should be something along these lines:

    “ObamaCare has been voided. The decision voiding it has not been stayed or appealed, and is fully in effect.

    ObamaCare is no longer on the books. There is no law that may be implemented or obeyed, unless and until my decision is modified or overturned.

    1. Let it be so.

    2. After which, the judge should strike a gong.

      1. Or bang a gong, depending on his radicalivities.

        1. RAPE A GONG?

  6. Of course, as I noted earlier in the month, the actual meaning of Vinson’s ruling has been somewhat foggy.

    Who gives a flyin’ fuck? The States have the right to nullify any law it deems not being pursuant of the Constitution. Happened since the times of the Sedition Act of 1798, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, even Prohibition (and that was a goddamned amendment!)

  7. I don’t know enough about law to know if this question is going to make me look completely stupid for thinking it’s a possibility, but I’ll ask it anyway:

    Is there any chance that Vinson deliberately left it clear that there was an implicit injunction against the law, without actually issuing one, just because he knew it would create this kind of disagreement over what the ruling entailed and it would force the issue to go to the Supreme Court more quickly than otherwise?

    1. iIs there any chance that Vinson deliberately left it clear that there was an implicit injunction against the law, without actually issuing one, just because he knew it would create this kind of disagreement over what the ruling entailed and it would force the issue to go to the Supreme Court more quickly than otherwise?

      I wondered the same thing Jonas. I also wondered if he left it intentionally vague, as some of his language could be construed as sympathetic to the idea of the law, but the road in the law is the wrong path to travel. Essentially leaving a back door way for an appellate court to “interpret” constitutionality, but leaving his hands washed.

    2. I don’t think Vinson was playing any such devious game.

      He voided the law. It is gone, kaput. What would his order or injunction say? Don’t follow that law that doesn’t exist anymore?

      As I understand it, when a law is voided, its done just the way he did it. You issue an opinion saying its void. If there is any question, it would be around whether it is void ab initio or from the date of the opinion, a question which doesn’t really come up here.

      1. I’m disturbed that there’s any debate at all about this. The administration can appeal and can seek a stay of the district court ruling. It not wanting to do that is just tough, because that’s its only recourse. Well, unless the plan is to use this and the Wisconsin situation as justification for declaring Obama Augustus.

      2. I don’t think Vinson was playing any such devious game.

        He voided the law. It is gone, kaput. What would his order or injunction say? Don’t follow that law that doesn’t exist anymore?

        As I understand it, when a law is voided, its done just the way he did it. You issue an opinion saying its void. If there is any question, it would be around whether it is void ab initio or from the date of the opinion, a question which doesn’t really come up here.

        Would he have the power to do so?

        A judge can certainly rule that a law was superseded by another. That is wholly different from saying the law was voided.

  8. Vinson implied that the government did not have the authority to enforce an unconstitutional law.

    I don’t know how anyone can claim otherwise. An unconstitutional law is an oxymoron. If it’s unconstitutional, it’s not a law at all, and it is the duty of the states to stop the federal government from trying to inflict it on their citizens.

    -jcr

  9. The first new rule says you HAVE to have insurance. Both my husband and I have pre-existing conditions, and although the new bill says we can’t be denied coverage because of it. So far, the cheapest health insurance we’ve been able to find is called “Wise Health Insurance” search for it online if you are pre-existing conditions.

  10. One thing Judge Vinson recognizes is his jurisdiction over this matter.

    He did not, and could not, invalidate ObamaCare throughout the whole country. If he finds it necessary to issue an injunction, he can only issue injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, and to whoever the plaintiffs have a protectable legal interest. He can not enjoin enforcement of this law in Hawaii or Oregon.

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