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DOJ appeals Florida health care ruling

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Tuesday appealed [notice, PDF] a ruling in the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website] declaring the health care reform law [HR 3590; JURIST news archive] unconstitutional [order, PDF]. On Friday, Judge Roger Vinson granted [order, PDF; JURIST report] the Obama administration's petition to stay his previous order [JURIST report] on the condition that an appeal would be filed within a week. The stay has allowed the administration to continue its implementation of the law in other states until after appellate review. The administration had not formally sought a stay on the injunction, but rather had requested Vinson to "clarify" [JURIST report] his earlier judgment in order to determine its "potential impact" on the implementation of the Act. In January, Vinson voided the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), saying that requiring all Americans over the age of 18 to have health insurance violated the Constitution by exceeding Congress' Commerce Clause [Cornell LII backgrounder] power. The case will now be reviewed by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website].

The health care reform law is the subject of numerous legal challenges across the country. Last month, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli [official website] filed a petition [JURIST report] for a writ of certiorari [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court [official website] asking the court to rule on the constitutionality of the law on an expedited basis, before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] rules on the issue. In January, a judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Virginia [official website] dismissed [JURIST report] a lawsuit challenging a provision of the health care reform law. In October, a federal judge in Michigan ruled [JURIST report] that the law is constitutional under the Commerce Clause as it addresses the economic effects of health care decisions, and that it does not represent an unconstitutional direct tax.

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