Wonkbook: Health-care challenge boosted

Wonkbook: Health-care challenge boosted; helping homeowners; House looks at Social Security supplement

In Florida, Judge Roger Vinson has decided to let the case against health-care reform go forward. His ruling was only about whether the states have the “standing” to bring the case to court, but he also admonished the Obama administration for calling the individual mandate a “tax,” rather than a “penalty.” Since that was core to their argument, they’ll now need to come back with a different constitutional justification.

Last week, of course, a federal judge in Michigan ruled on the case and said the bill was perfectly constitutional. And so the polarization of the judiciary moves forward: The Clinton appointee sees a constitutional tax, the Reagan appointee may or may not see something constitutional, but he definitely does not see a tax. But as has been true since the day these suits were filed, the question is not the bill’s abstract constitutionality. If Democrats had appointed five Supreme Court justices whether than four, there would be no question. It is whether the five Republican appointees on the Court are interested in chipping away at it, or whether they’d prefer to avoid that confrontation with the administration and the Democrats.

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