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Politico: Liberty University’s challenge to the health reform law will go back before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, with the school focused on getting Obamacare back before the Supreme Court. Liberty’s lawsuit is the most wide ranging of the outstanding legal challenges to the health law, hitting everything from contraceptive coverage to the employer mandate.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed its final brief in Liberty University v. Geithner before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hears our case against ObamaCare on May 16. Liberty Counsel represents Liberty University and two private individuals in this case
Robert Knight at Townhall: Here’s more from the brief: “In 2012, Liberty University employed 6,900 people, with net claims for its self-insured health insurance of $14,214,000. Yet Liberty University would be fined $20,700,000 ($3,000 times 6,900) if only one employee meets the 9.5 percent “unaffordable” criterion. “That penalty would be on top of the additional penalty of $2,000 per employee ($13,800,000) that Liberty University would have to pay for providing coverage excluding abortifacients, for a total combined penalty of $34,500,000. That would be in addition to the $14,214,000 that Liberty University paid in claims for its health insurance coverage in 2012.” Result? This would “tax or penalize Liberty University out of existence.”
Charisma News: Obamacare’s employer mandate has become the “bludgeon” with which the government feels empowered to cripple the consciences of religious employers. That’s the argument of a friend-of-the-court brief that Alliance Defending Freedom, Americans United for Life, and several state family policy councils filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit Thursday.
LifeNews: “Americans, including those who create and provide jobs, should be free to live according to their faith rather than be forced into surrendering their consciences,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “ObamaCare demands that Americans choose between two poison pills: either desert your faith to comply with the government, or resist and be punished. The Obama administration’s attacks on faith and employers prove that it doesn’t respect either one.”
Christian Science Monitor: The dictates of government need not conflict with the demands of faiths. Either the courts or Congress needs to make that a reality before the health-care law takes full effect in 2014.
Catholic News Service: Matthew Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the Carol Springs, Ill., company, said in a statement that the judge’s ruling was the right one and that Bible publishers “should be free to do business according to the book that they publish.”
SCOTUS Blog: The Supreme Court on Monday arranged for a Virginia university to go forward with new challenges to two key sections of the new federal health care law — the individual and employer mandates to have insurance coverage. The Court did so by returning the case of Liberty University v. Geithner (docket 11-438) to the Fourth Circuit Court to consider those challenges.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: Unless they’ve been living under a rock, most Americans have heard that the Supreme Court decided a constitutional challenge to Obamacare’s infamous Individual Mandate in NFIB v. Sebelius. Plenty of Americans are unaware, however, that out of over 30 cases challenging the Mandate, NFIB was only one of five challenges that were considered serious and credible. Another one of those major cases was Liberty University v. Geithner, argued by the university’s law school dean Mat Staver, who is also chairman of Liberty Counsel, a public-interest law firm.
Liberty Counsel: The U.S. Department of Justice has informed the Supreme Court that it does not oppose Liberty University’s Petition for Rehearing the Court’s denial of review of the case of Liberty University v. Geithner. 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.
ABA Journal: 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.
SCOTUS Blog: Now, a Virginia university is seeking to revive its challenge to both mandates. It has asked the Court for a new order that would revive its challenges in a lower federal court. It did so in a rehearing petition, filed on Monday. The Court seldom grants such petitions, but it definitely has the power to do so. Liberty University, a religion-oriented private college in Lynchburg, Va., had its own case pending among the petitions from which the Justices chose in granting review of the Affordable Care Act (Liberty University v. Geithner, 11-438).
Religion Clause Blog: However the Court’s opinions did not deal with narrower conscience challenges to the individual mandate. These have generally been rejected by lower courts.
Liberty Counsel: Liberty Counsel has two filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court addressing both the Anti-Injunction Act and the Commerce Clause. Liberty Counsel represents Liberty University and two private individuals in the case of Liberty University v. Geithner. This case is being held at the Supreme Court pending the outcome in Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services . . .
SCOTUSblog: The scattered schedule that lawyers have followed in filing appeals on the constitutionality of the new federal health care law has contributed to the creation of a puzzle for the Court to work out in deciding when, and how, to treat the cases. It now appears that, if the Court wants to wait and act on all six appeals that have now been filed, at the same time, it probably would not consider them until its Conference of December 9.
Liberty Counsel: It is almost certain that the High Court will accept one or more cases involving ObamaCare. It is likely the Court will accept the Florida case that has 26 states, because there the individual mandate was struck down. It is also likely the Court will accept the Liberty University case, because the issue of the AIA must be decided before the Court reaches the merits and it has the only challenge to the employer mandate. Either way, a ruling is expected before the end of June 2012.
OneNewsNow.com: “That case will be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few weeks,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow, “and I believe later this year, before the end of December, we’ll have a word from the high court about taking these cases. And I’m sure that the … court will schedule arguments in the early part of 2012, and by the end of June we will have a ruling on the constitutionality of ObamaCare.”
Religion Clause: In a little-noticed portion of his 73-page dissent, Judge Wynn rejected free exercise, RFRA and Establishment Clause challenges to the statute, saying . . .
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) does not have a legal right to sue over the law’s requirement that most people buy insurance. The court vacated a lower court’s ruling in the case and instructed the lower court to dismiss the suit.
ABC News: Although challenges to the Obama administration’s health care law are being heard across the country, two important appellate court rulings are expected this summer that could determine whether the issue eventually lands in front of the Supreme Court.
SCOTUS Blog: In two identical orders (here and here), the three-judge panel indicated it wanted to explore further how to treat the financial penalty that individuals would have to pay to the federal government if they did not obtain health coverage by 2014.
Liberty Counsel: Staver said, “To hear the Acting Solicitor General admit that if the court upheld this massive health insurance law, then Congress could force individuals to purchase certain kinds of food was an astonishing, but true, admission. If ObamaCare is upheld, then Congress would no longer have any limitations on its regulatory power. Today it is health insurance, and tomorrow it could be food, transportation, or housing. Big Brother would be able to be the CEO of every business and dictate our private choices. The implications are staggering. This law is the beginning of centralized government. The stakes in the outcome of this case could not be higher.”
David Savage at the LA Times: By their comments and questions Tuesday, the judges signaled they were likely to uphold provisions in the law that require virtually all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty.
A majority of Americans may strongly oppose the Obamacare law that allows abortion funding and presents rationing concerns, but the computers at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit apparently love the law.
USA Today: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will consider two cases testing the sweeping law that requires people to buy health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty. In one of those two cases, a trial judge declared that mandate, the linchpin provision of the 2010 health-care law, unconstitutional. In the other case, a judge upheld it.
Liberty Counsel: Mat Staver will present oral argument at the federal court of appeals on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 9:30 am ET, challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “ObamaCare.” The case, Liberty University v. Geithner, will be heard at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit at 1000 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia. Liberty Counsel represents Liberty University and two private individuals. On the same day, the court of appeals will also hear the case of Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius
Religion Clause: “Yesterday in Liberty University, Inc. v. Geithner, (WD VA, Nov. 30, 2010), a Virginia federal district court rejected a broad range of constitutional challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 (the Obama health care reform bill).” | More from Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy.