Liberty University 'Obamacare' Challenge Can Continue, Supreme Court Says

Another challenge to the Affordable Care Act (2010), or "Obamacare," can continue, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. Liberty University, a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, sued over the law's requirements that certain employers provide health insurance and that most individuals carry health insurance on religious freedom grounds.

Liberty University is represented by Liberty Counsel, which was also founded by Falwell.

"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."

The ruling requires the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the case, Liberty University v. Geithner. The Supreme Court had previously denied Liberty University's request, saying they had filed too early.

The Supreme Court upheld most of the ACA in June. In a 5-4 decision, the individual mandate was upheld because, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, Congress has the authority to penalize those who do not purchase health insurance under its authority to tax. In light of that ruling, Liberty filed again, arguing that the school's claims should be re-evaluated.

The ACA requires that employers with more than 50 employees provide health insurance or pay a penalty and that most individuals purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Both the employer mandate and individual mandate, Liberty argues, violate the school's religious freedom. In particular, the school is protected under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the suit claims.

The case joins about 40 other cases arguing that the ACA violates religious freedom protections. Most of those involve the mandate that employers cover contraception, sterilization and some abortifacient drugs with no co-pay in their health care plans.

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