Infesting the Court System

When corporate executives needed a political favor, they always went running to Congress. Now they can also run to the courthouse.

Over the years, corporate chieftains and their political henchmen have ensconced reliable, laissez-faire ideologues in hundreds of federal judgeships, creating a corporate-friendly path for moving their litigation from the district level to the Supreme Court. For example, in its effort to scuttle Obama’s health care reform, the right wing has gone court-shopping. They’ve filed their cases in the courts of judges who are known to be ideologically hostile to government regulation of  health care.

Take U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia. On Dec. 13, he ruled that a key provision of the new law is unconstitutional, a ruling at odds with 14 other federal judges who dismissed similar challenges. He had to resort to twisted reasoning to reach his decision. But, hey, you can’t let legal niceties get in the way of ideology.

Peek under Hudson’s judicial robe, and you’ll find a naked partisan with a long career in hard-right Republican politics. A protégé of Ronald Reagan and his detestable attorney general, Ed Meese, Hudson ran unsuccessfully for a Virginia congressional seat in 1991, then was given two GOP political appointments in the state before George W. lifted him onto the federal bench in 2002.

Even today, as he sits in judgment of politically motivated cases, Hudson continues to draw annual income as an owner of a Republican political consulting firm. One of the firm’s successful clients in 2009 was Ken Cuccinelli, elected as Virginia’s attorney general. Cuccinelli just happens to be the official who filed the right-wing’s case against Obama’s health care reform in Hudson’s court.


Find more information on Jim Hightower’s work—and subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown—at

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