Judge provides detailed healthcare lawsuit timeline

The federal district judge overseeing a multi-state challenge to the healthcare reform law has unveiled a detailed schedule for the suit's next steps. The hearing and oral argument on the motion for summary judgment will be held Dec. 16.

Florida Northern District Senior Judge Roger Vinson's amended final scheduling order, signed Wednesday, states that the judge will enter his written order on the motion to dismiss on or before Oct. 14.

"Assuming the case survives dismissal in whole or in part," he writes, "the parties have until 11/4/2010 in which to move for summary judgment (and the (defendants) may file their answer at the same time); the opposing party will have until 11/23/2010 to respond; and the moving party will have until 12/6/2010 to file any Reply."

In a separate, bizarre development, right-wing talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed on his show this week that Vinson was an avid hunter and amateur taxidermist who had shot three bears and mounted their heads over the defendants' entryway into his courtroom. 

"This," Limbaugh told his listeners, "would not be good news" for the law's supporters.

The information was apparently part of a hoax entry in Wikipedia; Vinson corrected the record in a New York Times article: He's the president of the American Camellia Society, and the only creature he's ever shot is a water moccasin.