On Health Care, Dems Are 'Alice in Wonderland': Judge He allows part of lawsuit to continue By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted Oct 14, 2010 5:29 PM CDT 47 comments Comments The Mad Hatter. (AP Photo/iParty) (Newser) – A federal judge gave a green light to parts of a lawsuit challenging the health care reform law, Politico reports. Judge Roger Vinson slammed Democrats and the administration for taking an "Alice-in-Wonderland tack" of calling the mandate to buy insurance either a "penalty" or a "tax," depending on which definition suited them at the time. “Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing," then turn around "and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely," he wrote. Obama and Democrats avoided the T-word during debate in Congress, but the Justice Department subsequently fought for legal protection as if it were a tax. Vinson said they would have to stick by their sales pitch and ruled the law a penalty, which would fall under the Commerce Clause, not Congress' taxing powers, explains Politico. A trial date is set for Dec. 16 in the case brought by 20 state attorneys general.