The state of Virginia's lawsuit challenging President Obama's landmark health care reform bill has circumvented its first legal blockade today. Despite the Justice Department’s protestations, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson refused to dismiss the suit, which claims that Congress can not force Americans to purchase health insurance under penalty of fine.

Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation exempting the state’s citizens from a coverage mandate. Hudson mentioned that law in his opinion, saying it “is sufficient to trigger the duty of the Attorney General of Virginia to defend the law and the associated sovereign power to enact it.”

While this is indeed a blow for the administration, the worst may be yet to come: a dozen other state attorneys general have filed a similar but separate lawsuit in Florida that will go before a judge in the coming weeks. And on Tuesday, Missouri voters are expected to reject the coverage mandate by popular vote.

-Cord Jefferson is a staff writer at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.