In 2 rulings on health care law, votes of 6 appellate judges break along party lines

WASHINGTON – Six federal judges on two appeals courts have weighed in on a key component of President Barack Obama’s health care law. Their votes lined up precisely with the party of the president who appointed them.

It was the latest illustration that presidents help shape their legacies by stocking federal courts with judges whose views are more likely to align with their own.

The legal drama played out Tuesday on two appeals courts in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia.

Those courts issued dueling decisions about subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford health insurance. Republican appointees in Washington sided with challengers to the health care law. Democratic appointees in Richmond backed the Obama administration.