This past spring, Florida state attorney general Bill McCollum, a former Republican congressman who led the impeachment of Bill Clinton, reacted to the passage of the health-care bill by immediately filing a lawsuit claiming that the new law was unconstitutional. He was soon joined by twenty other state attorney generals and governors. The administration asked a federal district court judge in Pensacola responsible for the case to dismiss it. (Last week, a federal judge in Michigan threw out a similar case.)
Today, the Florida judge, Roger Vinson, let the case go on. And he once again struck a very sympathetic note to the plaintiffs’ claim that a law requiring Americans to buy insurance stretches the limits of the Constitution. “Of course, to say that something is ‘novel’ and ‘unprecedented’ does not necessarily mean that it is ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘improper,’” he added.
This means that the government is going to have to defend the deal in at least two courts; arguments start for a similar case in Virginia on October 18. ((And that doesn’t include possible attempts by a new Republican Congress to render chunks of the bill useless.)
Even if every case dies, Republicans now have another reason to continue their successful campaign to kneecap nearly all of Obama’s judicial nominees.