A federal appeals court has agreed to act swiftly in considering a Florida judge's ruling that President Obama's health care overhaul is unconstitutional.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said Friday that it had agreed to expedite the appeal, setting a faster timetable than even the federal government had requested.
The decision means the federal government must file its first set of court papers on the issues in the case by April 4, and the state of Florida has until May 4 to file its papers. The federal government would file additional papers by May 18.
The appeals court said it had not made a decision on a request that the initial review be held before all 10 federal judges.
The Justice Department said in a filing this week that expedited treatment of the case was warranted because of the far-reaching nature of the decision by a federal judge who declared the entire law unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled against the Obama administration's health care overhaul on grounds that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring nearly all Americans to carry health insurance.
Twenty-six states challenged the law in the Florida case. Another federal judge ruled against the law, while three other federal judges upheld the law.
A spokesman for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he was "pleased with today's 11th Circuit Court of Appeal's order fast tracking the appeal of the Health Care Act. South Carolina and the nation need this important legal challenge answered sooner rather than later."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)