Activist judges much? A federal district judge in Virginia, appointed by George W. Bush, has struck down the Obama Administration's health care insurance mandate, the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance. "The mandate is the key provision in the landmark health care bill that the president signed in March [and] today's ruling, if upheld, could undercut the entire health care plan."
U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson's ruling was "widely anticipated based on tough questions he lobbed at Obama administration lawyers in oral arguments in his Richmond courtroom," adds the Washington Post.
Judge Hudson is the third district court judge to reach a determination on the merits in one of the two dozen lawsuits filed against the health care law. The others — in Detroit and Lynchburg, Va. — have upheld the law. Lawyers on both sides said the appellate process could last another two years before the Supreme Court settles the dispute. The opinion by Judge Hudson, who has a long history in Republican politics in northern Virginia, continued a partisan pattern in the health care cases. Thus far, judges appointed by Republican presidents have ruled consistently against the Obama administration while Democratic appointees have found for it.
That has reinforced the notion — fueled by the White House — that the lawsuits are as much a political assault as a constitutional one. The Richmond case was filed by Virginia’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican, and all but one of the 20 attorneys general and governors who filed a similar case in Pensacola, Fla., are Republicans. Other lawsuits have been filed by conservative law firms and interest groups. ...
The Justice Department, which is defending the statute, is also considering whether to appeal Judge Hudson’s ruling to the Fourth Circuit, which hears cases from Virginia and four other states. That would leave that court to consider opposite rulings handed down over two weeks in courthouses situated only 116 miles apart.
Virginia AG Cuccinelli has indicated that he wants to bypass the appeals court and move directly to the Supreme Court, described as "an extraordinary legal maneuver that would require the high court to decide that the case held extreme public importance and intervene immediately." No word yet would the White House agree.
Earlier this year, you'll recall the far right-wing Virginia Attorney General was roundly criticized for his opinion that the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities must abolish policies that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.
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