Florida judge permits states’ challenge to Obamacare to proceed

Roger Vinson, a senior federal district court judge for the Northern District of Florida, has denied a motion by the federal government to dismiss a case brought by 20 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses alleging that Obamacare is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs challenge the mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.
Judge Vinson (who was nominated by Ronald Reagan) didn’t decide the constitutionality of this mandate; he simply ruled that the plaintiffs have a good enough case to take to trial. However, the tone and substance of the opinion indicate that the judge is pretty skeptical about the mandate’s constitutionality.
The issue will not, of course, be finally resolved by Judge Vinson. Rather, this case, or one like it, is headed to the Supreme Court. However, today’s opinion, on first reading at least, seems well-reasoned enough to give pause to anyone who thinks this issue will be a slam dunk for the Obama administration.
Robert Alt analyzes today’s decision here; Ilya Somin does so here.

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