If you need further assurance of the very tentative nature of the gigantic defeat supposedly suffered by the Obama administration via the split decision of a three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals invalidating Obamacare insurance purchasing subsidies in states without their own exchanges, it arrived within hours, as a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously reached the opposite conclusion in a case revolving around the same issues.

Presumably the losing parties in both cases will appeal these decisions to the full circuit courts (the Department of Justice has already confirmed this course of action in the DC case). If the two circuits ultimately disagree, then there’s little doubt the Supremes will be called upon to resolve the matter. But there’s a decent chance the administration will prevail in both circuits.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.