By MELISSA NELSON, Associated Press Writer Tue Sep 14, 2010
PENSACOLA, Fla. – A federal judge said Tuesday he will likely dismiss only parts of a lawsuit by 20 states challenging the Obama administration’s health care overhaul as unconstitutional, though he didn’t specifically say what portions.
The Obama administration had asked U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to dismiss the entire lawsuit. The states and the administration disagree over whether people should be required to have health insurance, and whether states should pay additional Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government.
The judge said he will issue a ruling by Oct. 14. The lawsuit is likely to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
If Vinson upholds the states’ challenge, he would overturn decades of law enforcing the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce, said Ian Heath Gershengorn, deputy assistant attorney general.
“This court is free to disagree with Congress’ policy judgments but it is not free to overturn 75 years of Constitutional law,” he said.
dministration attorneys also argued that the section requiring health insurance doesn’t take effect until 2015 and it’s up to an individual taxpayer — not the states — to challenge the law then.