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Jerry Falwell's Liberty University Challenges Obamacare, Court Agrees to Hear Case

The highest court in the land has ordered a lower court to reopen a previously dismissed case that challenges the employer mandate that is part of the Obama healthcare plan.
 
 
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Protesters at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally to object to the HHS health care mandate on June 8, 2012, in Bakersfield, California.
Photo Credit: Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com

 
 
 
 

If you thought the Supreme Court’s ruling last June was the final answer on Obamacare, think again.

The highest court in the land has ordered a lower court to reopen a previously dismissed case that challenges the employer mandate that is part of the Obama healthcare plan. The move comes about five months after the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s sweeping health care legislation that was his signature domestic achievement.

A challenge to the law was filed by Liberty University, an ultra-evangelical school, last year, though it was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court dismissed it because, judges said, the school was challenging the law before it came into effect. Now, the Supreme Court directed the court to look into the case again.

The crux of the challenge centers on the employer mandate aspect of Obamacare, which requires that employers with 50 or more workers give employees health insurance. Liberty University is arguing that the law could lead to employers funding abortions, which the school says violates the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The school is also “arguing that requiring it to provide the contraceptive benefit violates its right to freely exercise religion,” as Forbes reported.

The Supreme Court ruling that upheld the healthcare law earlier this year did not touch on employer mandates. It only ruled that the individual mandate, which requires Americans to obtain health insurance, was constitutional.

Still, health care experts say Democrats and the Obama administration have no reason to worry. “Liberty will almost certainly lose again, and the Supreme Court will not hear the case again,” Tim Jost, a law professor, told Talking Points Memo. The news site also noted that “the Obama administration doesn’t appear worried. Weeks ago, the Justice Department did not object to the case moving forward.”

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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