The Florida judge who ruled against President Obama's health care law on Wednesday ordered the administration to expedite its appeal, if it plans to, within seven days.
District Judge Roger Vinson, who issued his original decision on Jan. 31, ruled then that the individual mandate in the new law is unconstitutional, and since it is basically the entire linchpin of the law, he declared the remainder of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act void.
But after the Obama administration went back to Vinson to ask for clarification of his ruling. Vinson on Wednesday responded to the request by granting their motion -- and ordering the government to go either to the appellate court or immediately to the Supreme Court.
"Almost everyone agrees that the constitutionality of the act is an issue that will ultimately have to be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward ... as soon as practically possible," Vinson said.
However, in ordering the administration to move quickly, Vinson added that his summary judgment is stayed pending appeal, meaning the administration can continue to implement the health law until the law goes through the court system.
"In their motion, the defendants have identified and described the 'significant disruption' and "wide-ranging and indeterminate consequences' that could result if implementation of the entire act must stop immediately ... and, upon review and consideration of these arguments, I agree that it would indeed be difficult to enjoin and halt the act's implementation while the case is pending appeal. It would be extremely disruptive and cause significant uncertainty," the judge wrote.
Wednesday's decision is a split victory for supporters and opponents of the law. For supporters, it means the health care law can continue to proceed as planned.
"We appreciate the court's recognition of the enormous disruption that would have resulted if implementation of the Affordable Care Act was abruptly halted," Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement.
"We welcome the court's granting of a stay to allow the current programs and consumer protections, including tax credits to small business and millions of dollars in federal grants to help states with health care costs, to continue pending our appeal in the 11th Circuit. ... There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Affordable Care Act and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal," Schmaler added.
For opponents who claimed the motion to clarify was an attempt to buy time to institute the law so it would be harder to reverse, the order to expedite was welcome news.
"We are pleased that Judge Vinson reaffirmed that his initial decision was a complete victory for the states in striking down the health care act in its entirety. With this order from Judge Vinson, the 26 states and National Federation of Independent Business as plaintiffs are assured that there will be no more stalling from the federal government," said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. "While we are disappointed that the stay was granted, we are satisfied that DOJ now has only seven days to file their appeal and seek expedited review or they will lose the stay."
Fox News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.