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Georgia Republicans applaud Fla. decision against health care law

ATLANTA (AP) -- Top Georgia Republicans on Monday were quick to praise a federal judge's ruling holding the Obama administration's sweeping health care overhaul unconstitutional.

Gov. Nathan Deal said Monday he was pleased with the decision but added that the state must still move forward with applying parts of the law because the judge did not delay its implementation.

"It is a victory, but it is not a complete victory as we are required to move forward," Deal said at a state Capitol news conference.

Deal, a former congressman, left the U.S. House to run for governor immediately after casting a vote against the law.

Attorney General Sam Olens said it will probably still be a few years before the U.S. Supreme Court issues a final decision on the law.

"Today is a great day for those that believe in the Constitution and believe that Congress' power is, in fact, limited by our Constitution," Olens said.

Georgia is one of 26 states that sued to block the law, saying that people can't be required to buy health insurance. Georgia's previous attorney general, Democrat Thurbert Baker, declined to sue on behalf of the state saying the action lacked a valid legal claim.

Then-Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed outside lawyers to handle filing the lawsuit pro-bono and those lawyers are still handling the case free of charge, Olens said.

Most of the larger and costly parts of the law aren't set to take effect until 2014.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Grantville, said at the news conference that he hoped the federal judge's decision would encourage Democratic leaders in the Senate to take up the repeal measure approved by the U.S. House.