The Supreme Court today ordered a federal appeals court to take a new look at the controversial Obamacare law and whether it unconstitutionally forces taxpayers to fund abortions and birth control, violating religious freedoms.
The high court ordered the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the case of Liberty University, a Christian college that contends Obama’s health care law violates the school’s religious freedoms. A federal judge rejected the case and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the lawsuit was premature but did not deal with the main points the lawsuit brought up.
When the Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare law this summer, that ruling essentially rejected all other lawsuits like the one from Liberty University but the college filed the suit anew arguing that its claims were separate from the ones the Supreme Court considered in its 5-4 decision upholding the law.
Liberty University is challenging the requirement that people must obtain health insurance or pay a penalty and provisions requiring employers to offer health care for their employees. It is also challenging the controversial HHS mandate that has been a subject of more than 40 lawsuits.
Before the Supreme Court’s decision, the Department of Justice informed the Supreme Court that it did not oppose Liberty University’s Petition for Rehearing the Court’s denial of review of the case of Liberty University v. Geithner.
“I am very pleased with the High Court’s ruling. Today’s ruling breathes new life into our challenge to ObamaCare. Our fight against ObamaCare is far from over,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law. “Congress exceeded its power by forcing every employer to provide federally mandated insurance. But even more shocking is the abortion mandate, which collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”
Liberty Counsel, representing Liberty University and two private individuals, asked the Court to grant its Petition for review, vacate the ruling of the Court of Appeals, and remand (send back) the case for the Court of Appeals to consider the outstanding and unresolved claims, including the constitutionality of the employer mandate and the Free Exercise claim regarding the HHS mandate. That is what the Supreme Court ruled today.
The case is now the first case in the nation in which a federal court of appeals would consider challenges to the employer mandate and the Free Exercise of Religion claim. The case could then go back to the Supreme Court in 2013.
Initially, the Court of Appeals in the Liberty University case ruled 2-1 that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) barred it from reaching the merits of the case, ruling that if the individual insurance mandate in ObamaCare is a tax, then the tax had to be paid before a court could entertain the suit. Liberty Counsel filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking it to reverse the Court of Appeals.
In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the AIA does not apply to the individual insurance mandate, but did not reach the merits of Liberty University’s case. The Supreme Court then denied Liberty University’s request for review. Liberty Counsel then asked the Court to grant its petition, vacate the ruling of the Court of Appeals, and send it back to address the unresolved merits of the case, namely, the employer mandate and the Free Exercise claim based on ObamaCare’s forced funding of abortion.
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“ObamaCare is the biggest funding of abortion in American history,” said Staver. “ObamaCare will for the first time require employers and individuals to directly fund abortion. This abortion mandate collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”