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No expedited high court review of health care ruling, source says

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
  • Virginia officials had asked for a quick route to the Supreme Court
  • The Justice Department opts for the normal appeals path, a government source says

Washington (CNN) -- The Justice Department has decided not to seek an expedited Supreme Court review of a ruling striking down the "individual mandate" provision in the sweeping health care reform bill, a government source told CNN Friday.

A federal judge in Virginia earlier this week ruled as unconstitutional a requirement that most Americans must purchase health insurance by 2014.

Virginia officials -- who had prevailed in this early legal stage -- had urged the Obama administration to skip over the usual challenge to a federal appeals court and go straight to the high court, given the importance and urgency of the issue.

But the government source said the federal government will go the usual route and next ask the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, to hear the case. After that court rules on the issue in coming months, it would go to the high court for the final judicial review.

Virginia's challenge of the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- signed by President Obama in March -- is separate from a lawsuit by Florida and 19 other states. A federal judge in Pensacola, Florida, heard arguments in that case Thursday and said he would issue a ruling as soon as possible.