December 2nd, 2013
On December 2, 2013, the Supreme Court denied review of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Liberty University v. Lew. I discussed this decision in an earlier post. Liberty University had originally filed suit in 2010 challenging the individual and employer mandates and raising certain religious liberty issues. The Fourth Circuit had dismissed their lawsuit, claiming that the Tax Anti-Injunction act barred consideration of their case.
After the Supreme Court’s decision in the National Federation of Independent Business case, in which the Court held that the Tax Anti-Injunction act did not bar consideration of the individual mandate, the Supreme Court reversed the Fourth Circuit’s Tax Anti-Injunction Act decision and remanded the Liberty University case for further consideration of the plaintiff’s claims. On reconsideration, the Fourth Circuit rejected all of the plaintiff’s claims, holding that Congress had authority under both the commerce and tax and spend clauses to adopt an employer mandate and that neither the Constitution nor the Religious Freedom Restoration Act barred the religious exceptions to the individual mandate.
The court also held that the Affordable Care Act does not require coverage of abortion, and thus the plaintiff’s religious liberty challenges to abortion coverage could not proceed. Finally, the Fourth Circuit held that the plaintiffs challenge to the preventive services regulation’s contraceptive coverage requirement was raised too late in the litigation to be considered. That issue is now, of course, before the Supreme Court in other litigation.Read the rest of this entry »