Florida — A second federal judge ruled on Monday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to enact a health care law that requires all Americans to obtain commercial insurance, evening the score at two-to-two in the lower courts as the conflicting opinions begin their path to the Supreme Court.
Judge Roger Vinson of Federal District Court in Pensalcola, Fla., ruled that the law will remain effect until all appeals are concluded, a process that could take two years. However, Judge Vinson determined that the entire law should fall if appellate courts agree with his opinion that the insurance requirement if invalid.
The judge’s ruling came in the most prominent of the more than 20 legal challenges mounted against some aspect of the sweeping health law, which was enacted last year by a Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama in March.
The plaintiffs include governors and attorneys general from 26 states, all but one of them Republicans, as well as the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small companies. Officials from six states joined the lawsuit just this month after shifts in party control brought by November’s midterm elections.