A federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that parts of the health reform law–specifically its requirement that individuals purchase coverage or pay a penalty–are unconstitutional. CNN, among other news outlets, has the story here. If you want the flaming liberal version, it’s here. And, for you freedom loving haters of social justice, head here. If you’re the kind who likes to go straight to the source, you can read the judge’s ruling here. Since I know how much you like to hear my opinion on things, here it is:
If this had been a best-of-three series, this latest case would never have been heard. That said, it’s now 2-1 in favor of the law, with the multi-state challenge still pending in Florida. Contrary to what you might expect, I don’t actually put much stock in either the two cases (one in Michigan, one in Virginia) to support the law, or the single case thus far to rule against parts of the law. I stand by my earlier remarks that judges are not apolitical beings. The rulings to date have borne this out. Monday’s case is important only because it shows that there is support from judges on both sides of this issue–and that is the prerequisite for this case making its way to the Supreme Court. How things will play out there is anyone’s guess–and mostly Justice Kennedy’s choice.
As to other more timely and important consequences of Monday’s ruling, it does nothing to impede the current implementation of the law, which it could have. So, that’s good. Still, this fight is far from over.