Judge pauses appeal of ObamaCare ruling, cites government shutdown

Judge pauses appeal of ObamaCare ruling, cites government shutdown

The appeal of a federal judge's ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional has been paused because of the partial government shutdown.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Friday granted the Department of Justice's request that appeal proceedings be temporarily halted on account of the funding lapse affecting the agency. 

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Justice Department attorneys say they are prohibited from working during the shutdown and would miss an upcoming deadline unless the case were paused.

Judge Leslie Southwick of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay on Friday.

Attorneys general from Democratic states defending ObamaCare in the case filed an appeal last week with the 5th Circuit challenging a lower court's ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

Judge Reed O’Connor last month sided with the 20 Republican-led states that sued to overturn ObamaCare. He ruled that the 2010 law could not stand without the individual mandate penalty, which Congress repealed as part of the 2017 tax law.

O’Connor also issued another ruling this month stating that ObamaCare can remain in effect while his decision is appealed.

The partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 is now in its 21st day, with no sign of progress on negotiations between President TrumpDonald John TrumpPentagon update to missile defense doctrine will explore space-base technologies, lasers to counter threats Giuliani: 'I never said there was no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles MORE and congressional Democrats. The two sides are at an impasse over the president's demand that Congress approve funding for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.