U.S. Supreme Court

Obamacare II? Supreme Court Revives Suit Challenging Employer Insurance Mandate

Liberty University’s lawsuit challenging the Obama health care law will be heard by the Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as a result of action by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Liberty Counsel is representing the university and two individuals in a challenge to the so-called “employer mandate,” according to a press release and the 4th Circuit decision (PDF). The mandate imposes tax penalties on large employers with employees seeking government assistance paying health care premiums or costs. Employers that don’t offer adequate health insurance are assessed a larger penalty. The suit claims the employer mandate infringes Liberty University’s right to be free from improper taxation and exceeds Congress’ authority under the commerce clause.

The suit also claims the law requires forced funding of abortion, violating the free exercise clause. The Supreme Court action “may pave the way for the case to return to the high court in 2013,” the press release says. SCOTUSblog also has a story.

Liberty University had asked (PDF) the Supreme Court to revive its lawsuit and vacate a previous cert denial because of the Supreme Court’s jurisdictional finding in its health law decision, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. The U.S. Supreme Court had found it had jurisdiction to hear the case before going on to uphold the law’s individual mandate under Congress’ taxing power. That mandate had required individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

The 4th Circuit had ruled in Liberty University’s case that it had no jurisdiction because the challenge concerned a tax that has not yet been paid.

The press release has a quote from Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law. “Today’s ruling breathes new life into our challenge to Obamacare,” he said.

The case is Liberty University v. Geithner.

Previous coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Did the Fat Lady Sing? Supreme Court Seeks US Views in Another Health Law Challenge”

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