Supreme Court Reinstates Case Against Obamacare

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit threw out a case last year brought by Liberty University that challenged both the Individual Mandate and the Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has thrown out the Fourth Circuit’s ruling and reinstated Liberty University’s case.

Ken Klukowski, a faculty member at Liberty University School of Law,, wrote back in early November:

The lawsuit also challenges one of the other major provisions of Obamacare—the Employer Mandate. This article of the law requires that all companies employing 50 or more people must provide health insurance that meets federal guidelines, or the employer will be subject to a penalty of $2,000 per employee, per year (a minimum penalty of $100,000 a year for companies that meet the 50 employee provision).

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had previously held that these mandates were taxes, and that a federal law called the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) did not permit any federal court to consider the legality of these taxes/mandates until after they go into effect in 2014. The Fourth Circuit dismissed Liberty University for lack of jurisdiction without even considering the merits of the legal claims.

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When the Supreme Court took on NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), it examined the AIA issue before addressing the merits of the case and unanimously held that the AIA did not deprive federal courts of power to decide such cases. This contradicted the Fourth Circuit’s reasoning for not taking up the religious liberty and Employer Mandate issues presented by Liberty University.

Today, Klukoski confirms that the Supreme Court has, in fact, reinstated Liberty’s case:

In its Jun. 28 opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius, the justices unanimously rejected this AIA argument. So Mat Staver, who is both dean of Liberty’s law school and chairman of the law firm representing the university, filed a petition for rehearing.

The Supreme Court granted that petition today. It has vacated (i.e., thrown out) the Fourth Circuit’s decision, and sent Liberty University v. Geithner back to the appellate court for new legal briefs and oral argument on the university’s claims.

So Obamacare is back in court, which is no surprise. Americans rightly push back against crushing governmental burdens, because we instinctively know that in our free country we wrote a federal Constitution for the express purpose of limiting the role of government in our daily lives. As long as Obamacare is on the books, headlines on these lawsuits will continue to fill our news pages.

“Today’s ruling breathes new life into our challenge to ObamaCare,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which filed the suit on behalf of the school, said Monday. “Our fight against ObamaCare is far from over.”

The challenge is ultimately to the constitutionality of the part of the law that mandates employers provide insurance and the forcing of insureres to pay for birth control. the challenge is believed to violate the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion clause.

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