A federal judge who declared President Barack Obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled Thursday that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the courts.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson was responding to a request from Obama administration attorneys who sought to ensure Florida and 25 other states follow the law until their challenge to it is resolved.
The AP reports:
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell took a defiant stand in February against the overhaul Congress passed last year, declaring that he would refuse to implement a law he views as blatantly unconstitutional.
However, after the ruling was struck down, Parnell signaled Alaska will implement reform while the federal government appeals the ruling, according to one McClatchy reporter.
Several experts believe Parnell is on shaky legal ground and that his comments are little more than symbolic. The law won't fully take effect until 2015 -- just after his first term will have ended -- and the constitutionality question will not get settled until the U.S. Supreme Court decides it.
But Vinson wrote in Thursday's ruling that other judges will probably disagree with him.
"It is likely that the Court of Appeals will also reach divergent results and that, as most court-watchers predict, the Supreme Court may eventually be split on this issue as well," he wrote.
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement that the government would promptly appeal Vinson's ruling and seek an expedited review.
"There is clear and well-established legal precedent that Congress acted within its constitutional authority in passing the Affordable Care Act and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail on appeal," she said.
Other states that joined Florida in filing the lawsuit were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.