What Does The Hudson Ruling Mean For Health Care Reform?

Brent Finnegan -- December 14th, 2010

News of Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling that the key provision in the Obama health care law is unconstitutional spread quickly Monday afternoon.

Jeff Mellott reported that “the audience at a Republican luncheon in Harrisonburg cheered Monday when Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, announced a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to strike down the federal mandate that nearly everyone must buy health insurance by 2014.” Goodlatte is quoted as saying the ruling is “only the beginning.”

Regardless of the court battle, Goodlatte said Republicans plan to introduce legislation to repeal the federal health care law when the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives next month.

Parts of the law that have strong public support and do not cost a lot of money should be reintroduced in a separate bill, he said.

Sen. Mark Obenshain called the ruling “a vindication for the majority of Americans,” and “a victory for the American people and for our constitutional principles.”

It remains to be seen whether Hudson’s ruling is a turning point in stopping the implementation of the reforms. The ruling could potentially help to keep the reforms in place:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who brought the suit against the law, had tried to convince the court to enjoin the entire law to prevent it from being implemented. Hudson declined to do so—a decision that health reform advocates went so far as to declare a victory. “The victory is more significant than the loss—the legislation will continue to be implemented around the country,” says Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a health reform advocacy group. (via MoJo blog)

Harrisonburg resident and health reform law expert Timothy Jost wasn’t surprised by Hudson’s decision. Jost was quoted in this NPR story Tuesday:

Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University, says Judge Hudson fundamentally misunderstood what Congress was trying to do.

“Congress was trying to make private health insurance work,” Jost said. “It would be perfectly constitutional for Congress to make everyone participate in a single-payer system. That decision was made years ago with Social Security and Medicare.” Both of those programs are funded by payroll taxes.

Jost called Hudson’s ruling “very defective,” and expects it will be overturned by the appellate court or the Supreme Court.


28 Responses to “What Does The Hudson Ruling Mean For Health Care Reform?”

  1. Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

    Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia attorney general who brought the suit Hudson ruled on, paid Henry Hudson’s company, Campaign Solutions, a GOP political consulting firm that opposes health care reform $9,000 for services rendered this year. But never mind that little conflict of interest…

    “I’ve had a chance to read Judge Hudson’s opinion, and it seems to me it has a fairly obvious and quite significant error”

    Conservative Orin Kerr, and George Washington Univ. professor.

  2. Brooke says:

    So I guess the only “activist judges” and “legislating from the bench” conservatives are concerned about are the ones that disagree with them? Seems to me what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. Then again, double standards are nothing new to politics – left or right.

  3. seth says:

    “I hadn’t seen that, Bubby. Very interesting. Can you link to where you read that?”

    (if you (like me) have misgivings about a source that believes a one night stand with christine o’donnell is important news, you might check out prof kerr’s comments from he actual source: http://volokh.com/2010/12/13/the-significant-error-in-judge-hudsons-opinion/)

  4. seth says:

    if you were asking about the first bit (to which bubby posted a link), i might refer you back to the huffpo story from JULY (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/30/henry-hudson-judge-in-hea_n_665240.html). i don’t mean to categorically say that this has no legs, but you’ve got to admit that it’s kind of strange for something that seems to have such explosive possibility not to be picked up by anyone with even a passing claim to objectivity in the past 5 months.

    • Lowell Fulk says:

      You’re not making much sense here, Seth.

      • Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

        seth doesn’t understand that Henry Hudson, a Federal District judge, is a side show player in the Cuccinelli 2012 VP campaign. His ruling adds up to a warm bucket of PURCHASED spit.

        • seth says:

          bubby, what i don’t understand is how you can feel so smug equating this ruling to a tepid spitoon when all indicators suggest you haven’t even taken the time to know what it says.

          • Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

            why seth, why would you assume that I don’t know what Hudson’s ruling says? By-the-way, your “Volokh Conspiracy” link is irrelevant.

          • seth says:

            hmmm, sorry about that, (i’m assuming you mean it’s irrelevant because the link isn’t going where i meant it to, not because you find the direct source of the quote you referenced above irrelevant) i pulled the link from the thread which contained your quote, but for some reason that’s not where it’s going. still, for anyone who’s interested, there’s really good (and relevant) discussion of the ruling in a number of threads on that site.

            and i didn’t mean to assume that you don’t know what the ruling says, only to suggest that if you did, it might be more constructive to discuss the ruling and not the potential conflict of interest (i do agree that it sounds like judge hudson has a questionable association w/ campaign solutions, but posting stories from gawker and huffpo as if they’re gospel makes you seem no more reliable than the fox news crowd. so, while any conflict of interest should certainly be investigated, i still believe that discussing the lack of merit in hudson’s ruling is a more intelligent way to approach the issue).

      • seth says:

        sorry lowell,
        i thought getting prof kerr’s comments from the horses mouth would be constructive and might help to point people with an intelligent curiosity towards the ‘significant error’ mentioned in the quote (essentially a misreading of the necessary and proper clause).

        i think that maybe you’re having trouble making sense of this, because like bubby, you’d prefer to discuss right wing conspiracy (that may or may not be, but you have to admit that it’s curious that an almost identical story came out in july and seems not to have showed up on the radar) as opposed to intelligent dissent that doesn’t fit your view of what the right wing should be, but as always, i appreciate your opinion.

        • Lowell Fulk says:

          Thanks anyway for the snark Seth, but what I’m meaning to say (really, not kidding)is that you’re not making sense.

          And you really should refrain from attempting to speak for others. I can do so for myself, as can Bubby. Disagree all you want, but don’t try to interpret for others. It shows a lack of confidence in your position.

        • Deb SF says:

          Isn’t Seth saying that conservative legal expert Orin Kerr is arguing against Hudson’s decision on legal grounds? That conflict of interest issues aside, Cooch’s future aspirations aside – Hudson made a fundamental error of reasoning in the ruling? Isn’t that, like, important?

          I’ve read the Volokh Conspiracy for years and it seems anything but irrelevant.

          • Lowell Fulk says:

            Thanks Deb, if that is what Seth is saying, then good for him.

          • Bubby Hussein, Hillbilly Sheikh says:

            Yeah, that is why I originally quoted Kerr. Hudson’s ruling is so obviously flawed that you are left wondering whether Hudson is an incompetent jurist, or a political prostitute. I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did it for the money.

          • Ross says:

            You tell em Lowell! A man of few words, lol.

          • seth says:

            i thought that’s what i was saying (things are so much clearer when you check that ego :))

            thanks deb

          • seth says:

            “Yeah, that is why I originally quoted Kerr….huffington post said…gawker said…”

            good lord.

            (there’s that damn ego again)

          • Lowell Fulk says:

            Seems to me like Bubby was saying the link which opened an article dealing with John Kerry winning a primary in 2004 is irrelevant.

            In the first comment of this thread, Bubby spoke of two different situations:

            1) The financial and political connection between the AG bringing the suit and the Judge of the court to which the AG brought the suit.
            2) The quote by a conservative GW University professor regarding what he believed to be a significant error in the ruling.

            What Bubby points out (as have many others) is that this situation seemingly has more to do with political motivations than legal reasoning.
            Sadly for us all.

            Oh, and the sources of the financial information referenced are official financial disclosure reports, regardless of the media outlet in which they are mentioned.

            To the question Brent posed in the title,
            Here is an informative article on the issue.

  5. How could Hudson not recuse himself?

    I’ll be surprised (or at least disappointed) if this doesn’t get overturned due to this huge conflict of interest.

    • Gee, I hardly think that this perceived “conflict of interest” would have escaped Obama’s Justice Department crew…

      But then, I’ve seen judges in Virginia’s courts violate not only the spirit, but the exact letter of the law for Virginia’s Attorney General and their “client agencies”.

      I take comfort that, like I did with McDonnell, I warned people that Ken would change when he got elected to the Office of the Attorney General.

      Ken talks out of both sides of his ass…he’s “conservative” when it’s politically expedient for him to be, and “liberal” when it’s just as politically expedient.

      See this Appellee’s Brief that Ken filed defending George Mason University’s illegal weapons policy, complete with the typical anti-2nd Amendment rhetoric (see pages 7-8):


      Now if you take a look at this video:

      You should here about 5 minutes or so into it Ken saying:

      “I heard the college question – you know, ***they don’t have the legal authority to pass the regulations they are passing that trump what the General Assembly has said.*** Now one way to deal with that is for an individual to simply challenge it in court and say, ‘Hey, I want to go walk at George Mason and this blocks me, so I have standing.’ But, the problem with doing it at the legislative level is that you have got to succeed. Because, and I say, and it sounds funny, but if you don’t you end up setting the reverse precedent that the courts will interpret as meaning taking the side of the university. That’s the danger we have in that area.”

      So, McDonnell, Cuchinelli…both opportunists…

      McDonnell just gave state employees a 3% bonus, but late this afternoon, a state employee sent me an email, apparently sent out today saying McDonnell’s cutting their salaries by 2% next year…

      Merry Christmas, Kool Aid drinkers.

    • Lowell Fulk says:

      From Brent above:
      “How could Hudson not recuse himself?”

      “I’ll be surprised (or at least disappointed) if this doesn’t get overturned due to this huge conflict of interest.”

      Very fair question.

  6. DebSF says:

    Go here and type in an Hburg zip code to see the street-by-street distribution of racial and ethnic groups within the city. Aggregate percentages are by census tracts. Then for fun, mouse over to the county tracts for comparison.


  7. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post claims that Hudson’s ruling is of no serious consequence, although I frankly found his argument somewhat confusing.

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