Meet Judge Henry Hudson

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.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.