The Justice Department has already responded saying they will appeal to the Eleventh Circuit.
(SCOTUS Blog) — A Florida federal judge who struck down all of the new federal health care law ordered the Obama Administration on Thursday to stop enforcing any part of the 2,700 page statute — but then immediately put his ruling on hold on condition that the Administration move quickly to appeal to a higher court — a federal appeals court or the Supreme Court. The Administration, however, has already indicated that it prefers to have all of the cases on the new law’s constitutionality proceed first through appeals courts, before going on to the Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of Pensacola issued his new 20-page ruling in response to a Justice Department plea that he clarify his earlier decision.
Although saying that he thought his decision on Jan. 31 nullifying the law was clear enough, the judge did acknowledge that some confusion has arisen around the country about whether he intended to block all parts of the law — including provisions already in effect. He thus summarized what he had ruled earlier, then declared — as he had not done before — that his decision was the binding equivalent of an order totally blocking enforcement.
And then, even though the Administration has not yet sought a formal postponement of his decision, Vinson interpreted the motion to clarify his decision as a motion for a stay. He then examined the usual factors for and against a stay order, and concluded that, on the whole, one was justified. But he issued the stay on the specific condition that the Administration file its “anticipated appeal within seven calendar days of this order” and seek “an expedited appellate review, either in the Court of Appeals [for the Eleventh Circuit] or with the Supreme Court under Rule 11 of that Court.” Thus, enforcement of the law can continue in the meantime.