This past Thursday, March 3rd, US District Court Judge Roger Vinson stayed implementation of his January 31st ruling declaring the “individual mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) unconstitutional and the law as a whole therefore void. The stay came in response to the federal government’s motion on February 17th seeking clarification as to whether his ruling relieves the original parties to the case from obligations under PPACA while his ruling is on appeal.  In order for the stay to remain in effect during the appeal process, the federal government must, within seven days, file an appeal seeking an expedited appellate review with the Eleventh Circuit or the Supreme Court.

In his order, Judge Vinson pointed out that he thought his original ruling was as plain and unambiguous as it could be and chastised the government for being slow to respond to the January 31st ruling and even then only filing a belated motion to clarify.   Despite the admonishment, after applying a four-factor test to determine whether to grant a stay pending appeal, Judge Vinson found the factors weighed in favor of granting the stay.

In his ruling, Judge Vinson urged that the public interest lies in a swift resolution of the issue, writing that “[t]he sooner this issue is finally decided by the Supreme Court, the better off the entire nation will be.”