SCOTUS orders appellate court to hear Obamacare suit

While total repeal is probably out of the question, there are parts of Obamacare that still need to be clarified constitutionally.

To that end, Liberty University filed suit challenging two aspects of Obamacare; the employer mandate to supply insurance for its workers and the contraceptive mandate.

Denied argument by the appellate court, the Supreme Court ruled that the case can go ahead.


The Court's ruling was in response to a request by Liberty University-the Christian educational institution founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell-to force the 4th Circuit to give the university its day in court after the 4th Circuit dismissed the action last year, refusing to hear substantive claims and arguments in support of Liberty's position. The 4th Circuit's reasoning for tossing the case was grounded in the Anti-Injunction Act-the tax law that requires that a tax actually be paid before a challenge can take place. While this was one of the issues raised in this year's challenge to Obamacare before the Supreme Court, SCOTUS quickly disposed of this as an issue that would have prevented the case from moving forward, thereby allowing the Supremes to get into the more substantive issues.

Liberty's employer mandate claim is based on the argument that Congress overstepped its constitutional boundaries with respect to this provision of Obamacare. The university additionally is arguing that requiring it to provide the contraceptive benefit violates its right to freely exercise religion.

Interestingly, the Obama Administration chose not to challenge the effort by Liberty to get the case before the 4th Circuit, noting that the issues raised by the university had not been adjudicated by the Supreme Court in its landmark decision.

However, the administration's lack of concern might have more to do with the fact that the 4th Circuit is one of the most liberal appellate courts in the nation and had sent signals during the initial action that they would be more likely than not to side with the Obama Administration on the issues raised by Liberty had they decided to actually hear the case.

Not very promising, to be sure. But perhaps the Supreme Court would be more willing to address individual issues raised by Obamacare than they were in repealing the entire law - if the case were to get that far.