Judge: Parts of health care reform unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia today declared parts of the Obama administration's health care reform law unconstitutional. The judge said that the mandate for individual coverage exceeds Congress's power to regulate economic activity under the commerce clause and could not be upheld under the general welfare clause. On Thursday, a federal judge in Florida will hear arguments in a challenge to the mandate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought by 20 state attorneys general and a handful of governors. Two other federal judges, one in Michigan and one in another Virginia district, have upheld the mandate's constitutionality.

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Court: TCA


Gursheel S. Dhillon, Estill Springs, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Andrea Huddleston, Sue Ann Sheldon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Health Related Boards.


This appeal involves a doctor's challenge to disciplinary charges brought against him by the Department of Health, Division of Health Related Boards. After the trial court denied the doctor's request for a temporary injunction prohibiting the defendant from proceeding with a hearing on the disciplinary charges, the doctor filed a notice of appeal to this court. Because the order appealed does not resolve all the claims raised by the doctor, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.



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Court of the Judiciary
Dayton judge reprimanded
The Court of Judiciary today issued a public reprimand to General Sessions Judge James W. McKenzie of Dayton in two matters. First, as a landlord to an attorney who rented office space from him, McKenzie allowed that attorney to appear for parties litigating in his court and appointed that attorney as a guardian ad litem in his court. Second, in open court, he used "an expletive wholly improper for a courtroom setting."
Download the reprimand
Legal News
Sharp nomination seen as Democratic delegation snub
With his nomination of Nashville lawyer Kevin Sharp to a federal judgeship, President Barack Obama chose to curry favor with Tennessee's powerful Republican senators and snubbed Tennessee's Democratic congressional delegation, reports the Tennessean. Republicans preferred Sharp, but Democrats wanted Nashville lawyer Kathryn Barnett. "This is a political appointment. There is a strong element of qualification involved, but there also is a strong element of politics involved," said 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. "The president has to weigh both and make a decision." Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, said in a written statement that Obama made his decision "after consultation with our state's U.S. senators."
Read more in the Tennesseean
19 new laws begin Jan. 1
On Jan. 1, 2011, 19 new laws become effective in Tennessee. The list includes: consumer protection, TennCare, workers' compensation, pharmacy, professions and occupations, guardianship, safety, bail bonds, DUI/DWI offenses, contractors, insurance, traffic safety, unemployment compensation, education, immigrants and criminal offenses.
The Sparta Expositor has more
North Carolina suspends Easley's law license
Former governor and attorney general Mike Easley of North Carolina has had his law license suspended while attorney disciplinary proceedings are ongoing. The action was taken earlier this week after he made an Alford plea last month to a single felony count in Wake County Superior Court. In an Alford plea, a defendant doesn't acknowledge guilt but agrees there is enough evidence to convict him. Easley's conviction was for knowingly filing a false campaign report. He was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine and $153 in court costs.
ABAJournal.com has this story
Tenn. Government
Bridgestone exec new finance commissioner
The former head of Bridgestone Americas Inc., Mark Emkes, has been picked by Governor-elect Haslam to lead Tennessee's Department of Finance and Administration, the state office responsible for running the government and managing its budget.
The Tennessean has more
General Assembly News
Democrats to meet Wednesday to elect leaders
State House Democrats will meet Wednesday to elect new leaders. In the most closely watched contest, Nashville's Gary Odom faces two challengers to win a third term as Democratic leader. Also running are House Finance chairman Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and John DeBerry of Memphis, who would become the first black Democratic leader.
The City Paper has details
Ramsey says redistricting will wait until 2012
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he anticipates Republicans will wait until 2012 to redraw districts for the state House and Senate as well as Congress to reflect population growth and shifts. Ramsey, who is Senate speaker, said figures from the U.S. Census Bureau that are used to determine how much population each state or federal district must have won't be available until March. "By the time we get our figures on reapportionment, end of March, first of April and enter all of that stuff into a computer, that'll be at least the middle of April," Ramsey said in an interview this week.
The Times Free Press reports
7 candidates line up for Black's vacated seat
One Democrat and six Republicans met the Dec. 9 deadline to run for the seat vacated by U.S. Representative-elect Diane Black. The opening is the state's 18th District Senate seat to represent Robertson and Sumner counties.
The Gallatin News Examiner has more about each candidate
Editorial: Arizona-like law a waste of time
In recent days, a group of Republican legislators have said that an Arizona-like state law on immigration will be one of the first things the GOP-dominated legislature will consider next year, which the Tennessean calls "a waste of time" in an editorial. "They know such legislation polls well, and it gets people stirred up," the paper quotes Nashville attorney Gregory Ramos as saying. "These are fringe, divisive issues that generate a lot of emotional response and even hostility."
Read the editorial
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