A first step in health-care suit

By N.C. Aizenman, The Washington Post

On Tuesday, as 20 states seeking to nullify the law squared off against the Obama administration in a federal courthouse in Pensacola, the popular outpouring was largely limited to a single man brandishing who braved the withering heat to brandisha protest sign. reading “Healthcare Makes Us Sick.”

Yet the paltry showing comes as polls indicate that the public remains profoundly ambivalent about the president’s signature legislative achievement. And there’s a chance that the soft-spoken lawyers may accomplish what the most vocal protesters at last year’s town halls could not: By the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida said he was likely to rule against the Obama administration’s motion to throw out the case. “on at least one count.”

If the judge, who said he will render his decision no later than Oct. 14, rules in the states’ favor, he will only be upholding their standing to argue the merits of their claim that the law violates the Constitution.

Virginia, which is mounting a similar but distinct federalsuit, already won that battle and is preparing for an Oct. 18 hearing on its motion for summary judgement.

Attorneys in the multi-state lawsuit – originally filed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) and the Republican attorneys general of 12 other states within hours of the law’s adoption in March – would probably face a hearing on summary judgement on Dec. 16.

In addition to Florida, the states party to the suit are South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Alaska. Two individuals and the National Federation of Independent Business have also joined.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/14/AR2010091406685.html

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