Appeals Court Will Hear University Health Care Lawsuit

Could damage Affordable Care Act

• November 26, 2012 12:39 pm


The Supreme Court ordered the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to examine the constitutionality of two Obamacare provisions: employer requirements and mandatory coverage of contraceptives.

Politico reports:

The Supreme Court responded to a request from Liberty University, one of the groups that sued over the health care law’s individual mandate in 2010. When the court ruled in June that the mandate was constitutional, it dismissed Liberty’s entire lawsuit. …

Liberty University argues that the law’s employer coverage provisions — which will require businesses with more than 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance for their workers or face fines — are unconstitutional because Congress overstepped its power by setting those rules.

It also says the individual and employer mandates violate the Constitution's right to a free exercise of religion. The employer mandate is unconstitutional because of the contraception coverage requirement, Liberty argues, claiming that the individual mandate would require individuals to pay for coverage of abortions.

The Fourth Circuit is traditionally liberal and Democrats appointed all three judges, but Politico notes Liberty still has hope.

If the 4th Circuit does rule against Liberty, it would give the university an opportunity to take its arguments to the Supreme Court — and try to put the law through yet another legal test.

If the justices sided with Liberty University, the health reform law could be severely damaged.

Arguments in the Fourth Circuit could be heard as soon as next spring.