A federal judge yesterday ruled that congressional Republicans can sue to shut down Obamacare. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled the House can pursue its lawsuit alleging the Obama administration violated the Constitution when it allocated public money that had not been appropriated by Congress. The issue involves the more than $175 billion the government is paying health insurance companies over a ten year period to reimburse them for offering reduced health care co-payments for lower-income people.

The House claims it never approved spending the money for this purpose, and in fact denied Obama’s request for it. The Obama administration insists it is relying on previously allocated money that it is allowed to use.

Judge Collyer, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by President George W. Bush, wrote: “The House of Representatives as an institution would suffer a concrete, particularized injury if the Executive were able to draw funds from the Treasury without a valid appropriation.”

To read more on this story, click CBSNews Judge clears the way for GOP Obamacare lawsuits.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.