We’ll have more tomorrow on this, but I wanted to flag today’s ruling by a federal judge in Florida on the new health care reform law. The government was seeking to dismiss the lawsuit by state attorneys general to declare the law unconstitutional. The judge agreed with the government in part and threw out four of the six claims. But the judge preserved one of the plaintiffs’ key claims: that the mandate in the law requiring citizens to purchase health insurance violates the Commerce Clause. In doing so, he went so far as to suggest that he was skeptical of the government’s argument that the mandate is constitutional.
Based on the reporting we’ve done, it looks like the Commerce Clause argument is the best shot the attorneys general have — but it was still considered a long shot. Now at least one judge seems to be buying it (note: a federal judge in Michigan rejected it last week). He’s just a district court judge, and this isn’t a ruling on the merits. So there’s a long way to go. But today’s ruling is a red flag. As I said, more on this tomorrow.