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Posted at 3:30 PM ET, 12/15/2010

Health care judge moderated Va. attorney general debate in 2009

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli (R) wasn't kidding when he told reporters months ago that he's appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, who Monday gave Cuccinelli a legal win when he ruled that a key portion of the federal health care law is constitutional.

At the time, Cuccinelli seemed to be referring to when he was a Fairfax attorney arguing in court before Hudson, who used to be a circuit court judge in Northern Virginia.

But he could well have been recalling an October 2009 debate hosted by the Richmond Bar Association between he and Steve Shannon, Cuccinelli's Democratic opponent in the attorney general's race.

Yes, that's right -- the Richmond association tapped Hudson to moderate a debate between Cuccinelli and Shannon in the months leading up to the 2009 election.

Hudson didn't get much attention as the debate moderator at the time. His role in the political event might raise eyebrows from advocates of the health care law, who've said that George Bush appointee is a partisan who should have recused himself from ruling on health care because he owns a stake of a Republican campaign consulting firm. (Hudson has said he invested before joining the bench and has no day-to-day role with the group.)

But Shannon defended Hudson, whom he's known since he tried cases as a prosecutor in Fairfax when Hudson was a judge there.

"Anybody's who been before Judge Hudson would say he takes his job quite seriously," Shannon said.

"I have never viewed him as a jurist as a political hack," Shannon said. "I think it's perfectly reasonable to attack the logic of his argument. But I'm not going to be one of those who attacks his integrity."

Shannon said Hudson was a fair moderator during the attorney general's debate.

"In the context of setting the debate rules and moderating, he was very judicious and didn't reveal any political leanings one way or the other," Shannon said.

Debate coverage largely focused on Shannon's aggressive tone. He charged that if Cuccinelli was elected he would challenge the federal government in ways reminiscent of those used by civil rights opponents. Cuccinelli accused Shannon of "race-baiting."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 15, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race, Election 2009, Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman, Steve Shannon  
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Next: UPDATED: Cuccinelli appeals to Virginia Supreme Court over U.-Va. global warming request


Ok Ms. Helderman, If you think this is a big deal, please point where you expressed any concern for the judge in the UVA climate change records case.

Posted by: BruceFairfax | December 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

1. Auto insurance mandate !

Under historical interpretations of the Constitution, Congress can dictate the economic activity of citizens so long as that activity will have profound, large-scale effects on the national economy.
2. Health insurance protects you PLUS all !
** Inaction cost, $9trillion over the next decade, ((Some of CBO analysis : While the costs of the financial bailouts and economic stimulus bills are staggering, they are only a fraction of the coming costs from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that each year Medicaid will expand by 7 percent, Medicare by 6 percent, and Social Security by 5 percent. These programs face a 75-year shortfall of $43 trillion--60 times greater than the gross cost of the $700 billion TARP financial bailout)).

Posted by: hsr06011 | December 16, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

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