As I was trolling the web looking for ideas for today’s post, the universe threw me a big one, as this just came in over the wire: U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled on Monday afternoon that the individual mandate — a central component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — is unconstitutional, finding that Congress is not empowered to order individuals to purchase health insurance.

"Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market," Hudson wrote. "In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]"

The ruling is a victory for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who first initiated the lawsuit challenging PPACA’s constitutionality on the basis of the individual mandate. The Obama administration remains confident that the provision ultimately will be upheld, however.

"We are disappointed in today's ruling but continue to believe — as other federal courts in Virginia and Michigan have found — that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional," the Washington Post reports Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs also pointed to the other rulings in favor of the individual mandate, WP reports, although Hudson is the first judge to rule the individual mandate is unconstitutional. "We are confident that [the individual mandate] is constitutional,” he said. "We disagree with the ruling."

But do you agree or disagree, pros?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

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