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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Judge Indicates He Will Green-light States' Challenges Against Obamacare

Via NYT:

A federal judge indicated on Tuesday that he would give a green light to a lawsuit filed by elected officials from 20 states who are challenging the constitutionality of the new health care law and its requirement that most individuals obtain medical insurance.

Although he did not issue a formal ruling, Judge Roger Vinson of Federal District Court said at the close of a two-hour hearing that he leaned toward denying the federal government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, on at least one count. That would end the jockeying over whether states have legal standing to challenge the law, and move the case to a full debate over its fundamental constitutional question: Is the federal government’s power so broad that Congress can require citizens to purchase a commercial product like health insurance?

Judge Vinson did not detail which claims he might sustain and which he might dismiss as improper. But he said he would issue an opinion no later than Oct. 14, and scheduled arguments on the merits of the case for Dec. 16.

The Pensacola case would be the second of more than 15 lawsuits filed against the health law to advance to this stage. Last month, a federal judge in Richmond, Va., rejected a Justice Department request to dismiss a similar lawsuit filed by Virginia’s attorney general. That case is scheduled for oral argument on Oct. 18.

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