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Correction to This Article
Earlier versions of this article, including in the print edition of The Washington Post, misstated the title of U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson's memoir, "Quest for Justice." This version has been corrected.
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Conservative judge considers Va. attorney general's suit against health-care reform

U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson struck down on Monday a key facet of the federal health-care reform law.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson struck down on Monday a key facet of the federal health-care reform law. (Jay Paul For The Washington Post)

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"I think the public has the right to know what's going on in courts," Hudson said. "I'm someone who's very, very reluctant to seal matters or close courtrooms. And I do try to express myself in a fashion that will allow the public to understand the rationale for what I'm doing."

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In his comments, he was careful not to tip his hand about his upcoming ruling.

His friends say his no-nonsense prosecutor personality serves him well on the bench. Mims called him "by the book" and "disciplined." U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R), who has known him for three decades, called him a "straight arrow."

Jonathan Shapiro, a Fairfax defense attorney who first met Hudson when the two attended law school at American University, called him "gracious" and "professional," although he said he's always found Hudson to be a conservative thinker who tends to side with the government against criminal defendants.

In a 1983 Washington Post profile of Hudson, Shapiro recalled that he and Hudson were enrolled in a class called "Legal Problems of the Poor."

"I got the impression he thought it was supposed to be 'Giving Legal Problems to the Poor,' " Shapiro said then.

Shapiro remembers the quote now with a laugh. Hudson never seemed to hold the quip against him, he said.

Hudson said he's matured from his days as a young, brash prosecutor whom Arlington police officers affectionately dubbed "Hang 'Em High Henry."

"Life does that to you," he said. "That's something that comes with time and understanding. To know that you're not always right. That there are two sides to every story. And you've got to keep an open mind."


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