Liberty vs. Geithner, a law suit by Liberty University which challenges Obama’s mandated health care coverage and female contraceptive care coverage in the workplace claiming a violation of religious freedom, may have gotten some new life blood today. According to the Associated Press, Liberty University, Christian college in Lynchburg, VA., has finally won the right to be heard by the appeals court in Virginia.
According to the lawyers for Liberty, the claim alleges that it is unconstitutional for the government to make mandatory health insurance for full-time workers at companies where there are 50 or more employees. They say, “forced funding of abortion” under the federal law violates the University’s right to religious freedom. As it stands now, if employers do not comply with the mandates, they will pay a penalty tax.
The Supreme Court Justices didn’t even consider this claim earlier this year. In late June, after upholding the healthcare law in a case called National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius, the justices turned down a series of appeals that had challenged the law as unconstitutional. Liberty University’s case was among the dismissed appeals.
Nonetheless, Liberty University’s was claiming that they had a right to at least have their claims heard. Since indeed, none of their claims had been heard to this point, the justices issued a one-paragraph order allowing the university to take the case to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. if they chose to continue. And last month, the Obama administration told the justices it had no objection to such an order.
Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University’s law school, said the order “breathes new life into our challenge to Obamacare. Our fight … is far from over.”
Opponents and legal talking heads, when asked about the “violation of religious freedoms” cases say there probably isn’t much hope for a win ultimately.
Timothy Jost, a health law expert at Washington and Lee University, refutes this so called victory saying, “It’s a frivolous argument. Congress had regulated wages and benefits issues under the Commerce Clause for decades.”
But Liberty University won if not the war, the battle when the court ordered the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to hear their appeal. A minor victory from their vantage point and now the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must rule on issues it previously refused to hear.
Liberty law school dean Mathew Staver said, ‘‘This case now will go back to the federal court of appeals where we will address the undecided issues that the Supreme Court did not address.’’
Liberty’s case is only one among many pending lawsuits which claim that the health care mandates which require coverage for health care and contraceptives, are a violation of religious freedom. While realistically, it poses only a minor annoyance to the Obama administration and doesn’t even really signal the potential for upheaval of the health care reform law, it certainly echoes the familiar sentiments of we will fight to the bitter end against Obamacare, that Americans have been hearing over the last two years and will probably hear for the next two as well.