Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 13, 2010

MEET JUDGE HENRY HUDSON.... Federal district court Judge Henry Hudson ruled the way conservatives wanted him to earlier today, finding the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional. Republicans are applauding the outcome, which will be appealed, and which declares unconstitutional an idea they came up with in the first place.

It's worth pausing to note why Virginia's hyper-conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli (R), hoped Hudson would hear this case, and why health care reform advocates expected this outcome.

That prediction is built partly on Hudson's roots in Republican politics. He was elected Arlington's commonwealth attorney as a Republican, briefly ran against U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) in 1991 and has received all of his appointments -- as U.S. attorney, as a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge in 1998 and to the federal bench in 2002 -- from Republicans. [...]

It is somewhat unusual for a federal judge to give an interview in the midst of a major case. But Hudson has always been known for his willingness to step into the public light.

In the 1980s, President Reagan appointed him chairman of the Meese Commission, a controversial group that investigated the effects of pornography.... In the 1990s, Hudson had his own radio show and made regular appearances as a television legal analyst.

Under the circumstances, today's ruling wasn't exactly a shocker.

Update: On the other hand, it's only fair to note Hudson did show some restraint. His ruling, for example, rejected the plaintiff's request to block implementation of the law, and more importantly, refused to go along with a push to find the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Instead, he targeted the mandate exclusively, reassuring some reform proponents.

Second Upate: Right Wing Watch takes a look at Hudson's ties to the right, which are pretty extensive.

Steve Benen 1:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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His ruling -- such of it as I've read -- also is replete with emotionally-laden and/or superlative adjectives and adverbs, and as such reads more like a policy paper -- or even a political position paper -- as it does a federal judicial ruling. I would guess it will raise some eyebrows at the appellate level, even in the Fourth.

Posted by: bleh on December 13, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

The SCOTUS recently ruled that corporations are people, and have the same rights.

Next up, activist Republican judges will rule that since people are NOT corporations, they have no rights at all.

I recall some lyrics for Boehner's Good Old Days-

"Tote that barge, lift that bale.
Get a little drunk, and you land in jail"
(a private, for profit jail, of course!)

Posted by: DAY on December 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

SO if the Supreme Court rules the health mandate unconstitutional, what is to stop them from ruling other federal government rules and regulations unconstitutional... After all businesses, they said, have the same rights as people so any workplace rules, environmental laws, etc could also violating the US Constitution, the Bible, and the Magna Carta. Speaking of which, do you think the Tea Party would have supported the Barons or King John?

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on December 13, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Obama shouldn't appeal the ruling which, combined with the "no denials for preexisting conditions" provision, means that we can all drop our health care and then sign up when we get really sick. The result will be that all private insurance companies will be driven out of business and then we'll get the system we wanted all along.

Posted by: John on December 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

KurtRex453 I'll bet you and anyone else any amount of money that the teabaggers haven't a clue about the Magan Carta and it's foreign influence on our laws. Bwahahahahah Barons or King John.

Posted by: Gandalf` on December 13, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

What's most concerning is that if the SCOTUS eventually rules the mandate unconsitutional then the rest of ACA will quickly unravel. The mandate is what makes the rest of the law affordable for business. Eliminate it and insurance companies can argue, reasonably, that the rest of the law is unfair to them. Unless there is something I'm missing, the mandate is the lynch pin of ACA, and the reason that it is being put in front of the courts so quickly by the GOP.

Posted by: Alex Kirby on December 13, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

>declares unconstitutional an idea [Republicans] came up with in the first place.

I guess now we know why they came up with it.

Posted by: millsapian87 on December 13, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Eliminate it and insurance companies can argue, reasonably, that the rest of the law is unfair to them. "

A business complaining that the law isn't fair is hardly compelling evidence for why it shouldn't be implemented. We as a nation have been dealing with laws for decades specifically tailored by and for corporations so if they get a taste I, for one, won't shed a single tear.

Posted by: Damien on December 14, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

If you read Judge Hudson's order you will find to be rather coherent and in line with mainstream constitutional thinking. How can you call someone who is faithful to the Constitution an activist? Judicial activists in Virginia and Michigan have ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional, and they reached that conclusion because they seek to circumvent the Constitution to implant their personal policy preferences. This is not an issue on healthcare, instead this is an issue where we are fighting tyranny from the government. It is unfathomable that the government could even compel one person citizen to buy something from another private citizen. If that happens then who is to say they cannot tell us what to buy, or what computer to buy. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would be disgusted with our government right now. Then again, you all think you know more then those two did, and your hero Obama believes the same thing.

Posted by: John on December 14, 2010 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Judge Hudson should have informed us of His conflicts of interest and recused Himself. He should be investigated and if found to have done anything that was inappropriate be removed from the Bench.

Posted by: Nick Brame on December 14, 2010 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK



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