This doesn't strike me as a big surprise:
A federal judge in Florida has allowed key parts of a lawsuit against the federal health care overhaul to proceed, presaging a long legal battle over the legislation.
Judge Roger Vinson of Florida's Northern District, a Reagan appointee, ruled that two elements of a lawsuit brought by Bill McCollum and 19 other attorneys general, along with the National Federation of Independent Business, could proceed.
The key words here are "Reagan appointee." Besides being ridiculous, one of the side effects of the GOP's war on the judicial nomination process is that the federal judiciary remains slanted in favor of conservative ideas. Between Reagan, Bush, and George W. Bush, Republicans have had 20 years to put their stamp on the federal judiciary, and it's been successful. Liberals still have a chance to counteract that, but it depends on a more reasonable GOP (highly unlikely) or an administration willing to fight Republican obstruction on judicial nominations (slightly more likely).
In the meantime, liberals will have to contend with the fact that for the next few years, their legislation will reach a federal judiciary dominated by conservative appointees. This isn't a good thing.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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