Judge Roger Vinson (AP/Pensacola News Journal/Tony Giberson)
1. Perhaps U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is getting paid by the word. It took the trial judge 20 pages to say what he could have said in two: The feds are running out of time to perfect their appeal of Judge Vinson's memorable January ruling that struck down the entirety of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If Judge Vinson hadn't stayed the effect of his ruling, the only one of its kind in the nation to void the entire health care law, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals almost certainly would have anyway. And none of any of this, mind you, has anything to do with the merits of the case or the ultimate fate of the new health care law at the United States Supreme Court.
2. Enough already with the broccoli mandate. Part of the reason why Judge Vinson's second health care ruling is so unnecessarily long is because he devoted a part of it to the so-called "broccoli mandate." That's the argument made by conservatives that if the Affordable Care Act is endorsed by the Supreme Court under the Congress' "Commerce Clause" power there will be no logical end to the legal power federal lawmakers to regulate what we eat, etc. Whatever the merits of the point, it has nothing to do with the government's motion to clarify the judge's earlier ruling, and it has even less to do with the central question in the order of whether to allow the state and federal officials to continue to enforce the Affordable Care Act pending final judicial review. And yet Judge Vinson devoted 32 single-spaced lines in a footnote to play the broccoli card.