Setting The Boundries
Ezra Klein tweeted that Judge Vinson's ruling today has a "Bush vs. Gore" feel to it. I'll say.
In his post on the subject, he points out that Vinson uses a variant of the old "this ruling applies to this case only" that the Supreme Court majority so memorably used to validate their partisan bias without endangering the entire American electoral framework.
This is all interesting, and I suppose that there's some use in having the public argument about the merits of the various cases and rulings. But in the end, this isn't a public issue anymore, it's an Anthony Kennedy issue. And while he may be subject to public opinion in his deliberations on some level I doubt it's very significant.
But Ezra does point out one very interesting aspect of this. Vinson may have moved the goalposts:
Vinson's ruling does not halt, slow, or otherwise impede implementation of the act. What it does do is speed the law's route to the Supreme Court, which is where this question will ultimately be decided. It could also have the effect of making the Supreme Court more comfortable with adopting Hudson's stance, under the theory that Vinson's ruling makes a limited rejection of the individual mandate seem less extreme.
I wouldn't be surprised. That's how they roll.