HENRY HUDSON’S YEARS OF ‘ACTIVE SERVICE TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY’…. Federal District Judge Henry Hudson caused quite a stir this week with his odd ruling on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Matt Finkelstein reports today on Hudson’s explanation of how he earned a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in the first pace.

After Congress created a new judgeship for the Richmond Division in the Eastern District of Virginia in 2001, Hudson expressed his interest and picked up the support of the state’s two Republican senators.

Hudson’s description of the selection process candidly acknowledges its political nature. “Campaigning for a federal judgeship is almost as challenging as running for political office,” he writes. “Rather than court voters, aspirants solicit endorsements from influential political activists with close ties to the senators, particularly the activists who raise the big money.

“That is where 20 years of active service to the Republican party, and helping in the various campaigns of each senator, paid dividends and gave me the edge,” he said.

I realize it can get tiresome to see folks like me say “imagine if a Democrat had done this,” but once in a while, I think these comparisons have real merit.

Consider a hypothetical. Imagine if an important court case came before a federal judge nominated by President Obama and confirmed by a Democratic-led Senate. Then imagine we learned that this same judge owns part of a political operation that attacks the same law about which he/she was hearing arguments.

Making matters worse, that Democratic judge admits to having campaigned for the seat on the bench, earning it through 20 years of active service to the Democratic Party, helping the various campaigns of Democratic candidates.

And then to top it off, imagine if that judge’s ruling, an obvious example of judicial activism, was premised on a bizarre legal analysis that no one of any ideology was prepared to defend.

Is there any doubt at all that, if this scenario actually happened, the right would be apoplectic? That the judge’s name would be on every Fox News broadcast as an example of courts run amok? That we’d hear some congressional Republicans raising the specter of impeachment against that judge?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.