Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler became the third federal judge to rule in favor of the health care reform law's constitutionality, but as with each of the other rulings in favor of reform, Kessler's decision has barely made a ripple in the media.
In contrast, coverage of Judge Roger Vinson's decision against reform saturated the media, even though his ruling had no immediate impact on health reform.
The Vinson ruling received A1 coverage in The New York Times and dominated cable news. The Kessler ruling was covered on A14 of the Times and as far as cable news goes, I was only able to find two references to it -- both on Fox, and each for less than a minute. (I'm basing this on closed caption text searches, so it's possible I missed a couple of references, but there was hardly any coverage at all.)
After the Vinson ruling, Steve Benen pointed out the huge disparity in coverage between the two rulings in favor of reform and the two rulings against reform. Even if you were to dismiss the significance of those numbers on the theory that the rulings against reform were bigger news because they happened after the rulings that upheld reform, yesterday's ruling should be at least as significant as Vinson's ruling because it means that three judges have now ruled in favor of reform compared with two who have ruled against it.
Ultimately, the real test will be in the Supreme Court, but if you dismiss the importance of the Kessler ruling on that basis, then you should also have dismissed the Vinson ruling. That's actually where I'm at: I don't think any of these rulings are huge news. But given that the media treated the Vinson ruling as a Really Big Deal, they should be doing the same with the Kessler ruling.