U.S. Supreme Court allows challenge to Affordable Care Act


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed
an appeal by Liberty 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. Lyle Denniston reports at SCOTUSbog,
Way cleared for health care challenge (UPDATED)

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.  The Court last Term had simply denied review of Liberty
University’s appeal, but on Monday wiped out that order and agreed to
send the case back to the appeals court in Richmond for further review.

* * *

The Court’s decision last Term on the new health care law upheld,
under Congress’s power to tax, the requirement that virtually all
Americans have health insurance by 2014, or pay a penalty.   That is the
individual mandate.  The law also contains a somewhat similar mandate,
requiring all employers with more than fifty employees to provide them
with adequate insurance coverage.  The Court had declined to rule on
that issue last Term.

Liberty University has been pursuing a challenge to both mandates,
based on claims that they violate rights to religious freedom or to
legal equality under the Constitution.  It also challenges the employer
mandate on the theory that it was beyond Congress’s powers under the
Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.  The Fourth Circuit
had not ruled on any of those claims, because it ruled that Liberty was
barred by the federal Anti-Injunction Act from suing to stop those
.  That is one of the issues the Circuit Court will have to
reconsider when the case is returned there. The Justices cleared the way
for doing so by vacating and remanding the Circuit Court’s earlier

The Obama Administration did not oppose the action announced Monday. 
However, it did tell the Court that it thinks that none of Liberty’s
remaining challenges has legal merit and that, in any event, its
challenge to the employer mandate was blocked by the Anti-Injunction
Act.  Presumably, the Administration will renew those arguments in the
Fourth Circuit.

The wheels of justice turn slowly. By the time this case makes its way back to the U.S. Supreme Court, if ever, the Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented in January 2014.