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Special Report

Panel Takes On Florida Health Care Ruling

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Before the break, we asked you if you believe the economy is improving. Eight percent replied yes, in our online poll, 92 percent said no in a non- scientific poll.

Now, every week viewers vote in the scientific, your choice online. Friday the topic and the Friday Lightning Round, and this is it, this week, the drum roll, please -- Florida health care ruling won with 64 had percent of the vote. We're back now with the panel.

This week down in Florida, Judge Vinson, the judge down in Florida, said this -- "Almost everyone agrees that the constitutionality of the act" -- this is the health care law -- 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."

We're back with the panel. Chris, what does this mean and what is the significance?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR DIGITAL: Well, first I would just like to say, god bless Judge Roger Vinson for writing readable orders. As a journalist I want to say he is a funny writer and engaging so I just want to thank him that as we pour through his work.

What is significant here, the judge basically said, OK, Mr. President, you've got a week to appeal. For one week I'm not going tell the states of this union that they can not enforce your law but after that I am going to tell them they can go ahead.

What is significant here, is that the administration was anxious enough about this to seek clarification from Judge Vinson because what is going on in Texas, Alaska, and a multitude of states is governors are looking for a way out because there's doubt about this, because the president back loaded it to 2014 so that he could get re- elected before the less pleasant parts of the law went into effect. That uncertainty is inviting states to do mischief.

BAIER: Kirsten, is there any sense that this is going to be fast tracked at all to the Supreme Court?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK POST: No, I wish it would be. It's pretty clear that the Supreme Court needs to weigh in this. The score now is three-two -- three, saying that it's constitutional and two saying that it's not. And shocker of all shockers, it was all completely partisan. Three Democrats were saying that it is constitutional.

So, ya know, the White House says this is overreaching in judicial activism and I think we just have really a political back and forth right now. And until the Supreme Court weighs in, we' not going to know. This is first judge to throw out the entire thing and to basically try to stop everything in their tracks. But until the Supreme Court weighs we're not going to know what, the answer is.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Vinson here is trying to speed it up. The reason he did all this is to say the administration, which is dragging its feet, you better file in a week, otherwise I'll tell the states you don't have to enforce the law. The administration is going to respond in a week.

But his problem is, he may have authority over the administration but he has no authority over the higher courts and that is where it's gonna slow down. It will slow down the appeals court and the Supreme Court. They are in no mood to fast track this. I would bet this is not going to be decided by the Supreme Court until the end of next year at the earliest.

BAIER: I want to turn to Pakistan. And after the assassination of another official there in Pakistan based on his Christian beliefs, plus we have the CIA officer who still being held by the Pakistanis, not being released, this is a situation that is developing quickly and it's not looking good.

KRAUTHAMMER: Consider this. At the funeral at the assassination of a minister in the government the only attendee from the government is the prime minister. No other high level members of government and not the president. Imagine if a cabinet official were assassinated in this country, you would have everybody out there. That is an indication.

And remember that the assassin of the governor, this other assassination, a few weeks ago, who supported minority rights was -- the assassination was hailed by large number of Pakistanis including judges and law students, gives you an indication of how the country is slipping into either Islamism or chaos. And the army at some point, not in the distant future, is going to step in and take over for that reason. I don't this think there is any way out.

BAIER: It's a scary prospect, Kristen?

POWERS: Yeah. I do think people have been talking about, is this [INAUDIBLE], are we going to see another big uprising and overthrow of the government? And it doesn't appear that that's the case, but I think what Charles says is definitely right. It's definitely moving in that direction.

Ya know, the question is what could the United States be doing, I think? And when we look at it there is not a lot you can do. It's completely in the hands of Pakistanis who have really been ignoring Islamic radicalism, have sort of allowed it to continue to grow to the point that, ya know, you have two moderate members shot down in cold blood.

BAIER: And a nuclear armed country.

STIREWALT: Of a 170 million people with 100 nuclear warheads, our most important ally in the war on Afghanistan, arguably our most important ally in the war on terrorism, and this is now a country in which the penalty for preaching the gospel of Christianity is death. We got a serious serious problem in Pakistan. And President Zardari looks like he has lost control of his government.

BAIER: Next week we will bring you exclusive reports from Afghanistan and get a progress report from the man in charge on the ground. I'll be talking with General David Petraeus in his only TV interview before he testifies on Capitol Hill later this month.

We will take you to some remote villages along the Afghan/Pakistan border and get a firsthand look at U.S. efforts to train Afghan security forces. I'll be reporting and anchoring from Afghanistan on Monday and more from there throughout the week.

That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for a spelling emergency.

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