U.S. Supreme Court

Did the Fat Lady Sing? Supreme Court Seeks US Views in Another Health Law Challenge


Updated: Is the possibility of a new challenge to the health-care law on the horizon?

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the federal government for its views on a rehearing request by a religious university that is challenging the law, SCOTUSblog reports.

Liberty University asked the Supreme Court to revive its lawsuit challenging the law in a rehearing request filed in July, Law360 (sub. req.) reported at the time. The university argued the Supreme Court decision upholding the law overruled an appeals court decision in Liberty University’s case that found courts had no jurisdiction because the challenge concerned a tax that has not yet been paid.

The June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court cited Congress’ taxing power when it upheld the law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance or pay a penalty. A majority, however, found that Congress did not have the authority to pass the law under its commerce clause power. The court ruled after finding it had jurisdiction to decide the case.

Liberty University is challenging the law’s insurance mandates for both individuals and employers. In its original cert petition (PDF), Liberty University contended that requiring employers to provide government-defined health insurance coverage exceeded Congress’ powers under the commerce clause.

The university’s suit also claimed the law requires abortion funding, violating the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, according to a press release. The petition for rehearing (PDF) asks the Supreme Court to vacate the jurisdictional ruling by the Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and to remand for consideration of the constitutional claims regarding free exercise and the employer mandate.

Updated at 2 p.m. to include information from the press release.

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