State and federal officials battling over the healthcare reform law in federal court in Pensacola, Fla., have filed documents that set the stage for a judge to consider the merits of the case for the first time during a hearing set for Dec. 16. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled in October that the core arguments the lawsuit makes against the law were plausible enough to proceed. The Obama administration and the plaintiffs then filed motions asking for summary judgment, which would end the case before it goes to trial. The challenge in Florida is being mounted by officials representing 20 states. They argue that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutionally compels individuals to buy health insurance under the guise of regulating interstate commerce, and that the law commandeers state Medicaid programs. In court filings last week, each side tried to take down the other's arguments. A federal judge in Akron, Ohio, meanwhile, ruled that a suit filed in that jurisdiction by a conservative legal group could move forward. “It is apparent,” Judge David Dowd writes in the opinion, “that the controversy ignited by the passage of this legislation at issue in this case will eventually require a decision by the Supreme Court.”
Late News: Final briefs filed in hearing over challenge to reform law
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