Liberty University, a Virginia-based Christian college, just got their legal challenge to the individual and employer mandates in Obamacare revived by the Supreme Court. It has previously been dismissed by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has revived a Christian college’s challenge to President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, with the acquiescence of the Obama administration.
The court on Monday ordered the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to consider the claim by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that Obama’s health care law violates the school’s religious freedoms.
A federal district judge rejected Liberty’s claims, and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lawsuit was premature and never dealt with the substance of the school’s arguments. The Supreme Court upheld the health care law in June.
The justices used lawsuits filed by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business to uphold the health care law by a 5-4 vote, then rejected all other pending appeals, including Liberty’s.
This is interesting for a couple of reasons.
First, it shows that the fight against Obamacare (and the political headaches that represents for the President and his party) is far from over.
Second, this differs from the other lawsuits the Supreme Court has considered in that it focuses specifically on religions liberty. The Obama administration is claiming that the freedom of religion only exists at church, not in making decisions about health insurance and health care. Obviously, people who have a mind to live in accordance with their religious convictions (not just pay them lip service on Sundays) feel differently.
Third, this is going to make it very difficult for the Obama administration to convince the states to begin implementing the exchanges and the Medicaid expansions required under the law. Nearly two dozen states have resisted the exchanges, and most of those are also resisting the expansion of Medicaid (both are optional under the law as it was upheld by the Supreme Court). The feds have moved a deadline for the states to notify about their intentions with regard to the exchanges next month, and many expect the federal government to begin sweetening the pot to lure states into implementation.
But with legal challenges to the law still circulating in the courts, especially challenges such as this one which have the possible outcome of gutting the law, the states resisting this are a lot less likely to implement anything not 100% required by law.