Supreme Court orders up another health care challenge

National Constitution Center

The United States Supreme Court has ordered a federal appeals court to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act on religious and equal protection grounds, setting the stage for a new health care law debate.

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The administration of President Barack Obama said it didn’t object to the appeals court hearing the case of Liberty University v. Geithner.

Liberty University filed with the high court this summer, saying its previous claims should be looked at in a new light after the Supreme Court’s June 2012 decision. The evangelical school was founded by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Liberty University is objecting to a mandate that most people buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty, and a requirement for most employers to offer health insurance to their workers, or pay a fine for each uninsured employee.

Liberty University claimed that the appeals court shouldn’t have used the Federal Anti-Injunction Act as a reason to deny hearing its original lawsuit.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will likely hear the case in the spring. Attorneys from Liberty University told Politico that they hope to bring their suit before the Supreme Court at some point.

On October 31, the Justice Department said it wouldn’t object if Liberty’s case were to be heard in the appeals court.

The court could also ask the Justice Department and the university to file new legal briefs.

The historic June 2012 Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act ended three years of drama, for now, about President Obama’s wide-ranging overhaul of the health  care system.

Important parts of the reform effort, called Obamacare by its opponents, are already in place. But many parts of the law go into effect in 2014.

The court is under no obligation to hear the Liberty University case once the appeals court issues a decision.

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