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More Legal Battles on the Constitutionality of Healthcare Reform

Posted in PPACA

After a quiet fall, one of the lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of PPACA has new life.  In a brief order, the U.S. Supreme Court has sent the Liberty University v. Geitner case to be heard again by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals out of Richmond, Virginia.  As the AP mentioned in its piece run by the Washington Times, the Obama administration did not contest the University’s request.

The case gets another hearing because it includes issues that were not addressed in the Supreme Court’s decision this summer.  As reported in more detail at Squire Sanders’ Sixth Circuit Blog, Liberty University asserts that two requirements — that employers provide insurance or face penalties and that employers provide insurance with contraception coverage – violate the University’s right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment.  The U.S. Supreme Court held this summer that challenges to PPACA are not premature (the reason Liberty lost at the Court of Appeals last time), but it did not address the employer mandate or the freedom of religion arguments.

Notably, the Court’s ruling does not necessarily indicate that the Justices believe the University’s claims should prevail.  Indeed, as reported by Forbes and Reuters, a number of experts believe the lawsuit has little chance of success.