The New York Times, February 18, 2011
The Obama administration asked a federal judge on Thursday to clarify whether his recent ruling against the new healthcare law was meant to block its implementation pending appeals. The judge, Roger Vinson, of Federal District Court in Pensacola, FL, ruled on Jan. 31 that the provision requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance was unconstitutional, and that the entire Affordable Care Act was therefore invalid. While the judge did not specifically enjoin the law, he suggested that his ruling should be treated as the "functional equivalent" of an injunction. That led to conflicting interpretations among lawyers for the federal government and for the 26 states that had challenged the law. Some states have continued to carry out its requirements, while others have declared that they consider it effectively dead.