By Simon Lazarus, Public Policy Counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, and author of the ACS Issue Briefs, "The Health Care Lawsuits: Unraveling A Century of Constitutional Law and The Fabric of Modern American Government." and "Mandatory Health Insurance: Is it Constitutional?"
In a procedural motion that may prove more significant than its low-key framing may suggest at first glance, the Department of Justice this week filed a "Motion To Clarify" with Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola. The Motion asked the judge to "clarify" that his two-and-a-half-week old January 31 declaratory judgment invalidating the "individual mandate" or "individual responsibility provision" of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) "does not relieve the parties of their rights and obligations [under the ACA]" until appeals are exhausted. In this case, that date is unlikely to occur without a definitive Supreme Court ruling, perhaps two years from now.