Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The First Challenge

Is Obama's healthcare reform plan in trouble? A federal district court judge in Virginia just declared the individual mandate unconstitutional. This is a key element of the plan, and if removed the entire plan could collapse.

But wait. There's something about Judge Henry E. Hudson that might, just might, have bearing on his decision:
Federal judge Henry E. Hudson's ownership of a stake worth between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm that worked against health care reform -- the very law against which he ruled today -- raises some ethics questions for some of the nation's top judicial ethics experts. It isn't that Hudson's decision would have necessarily been influenced by his ownership in the company, given his established track record as a judicial conservative. But his ownership stake does create, at the very least, a perception problem for Hudson that could affect the case.

The rules are pretty straightforward: if a judge is invested in a company that is a litigant in a case, he or she can't be involved. But in cases where a company owned by a judge has an interest in the outcome of a case but is not a direct litigant, the lines get much more murky.

Murky it is.

A.k.a. the fix is in.

1 comment:

Master Fu said...

Wouldn't any judge that had private health insurance have a possibility to have an interest in the outcome of the case?