U.S. Supreme Court orders review of HHS mandate
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court has ordered the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear a lawsuit against the HHS mandate, setting up a legal test of the most controversial provision of the Obama administration’s health care reform law before the High Court as early as next year.
“Today’s ruling breathes new life into our challenge to ObamaCare,” said Mat Staver, the dean of Liberty University Law School, who filed the case.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals – which is based in Richmond, Virginia – previously ruled that the Federal Anti-Injunction Act barred the university from suing over the law.
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli made no objection to the motion for a new hearing. Although he brimmed with confidence about the outcome, he agreed the underlying constitutional issue had not been raised.
Legal observers expect the case, or one of the many other challenges to the HHS mandate, will land before the Supreme Court as early as 2013.
“Congress exceeded its power by forcing every employer to provide federally mandated insurance,” Staver said. “But even more shocking is the abortion mandate, which collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”
The provisions of ObamaCare require that businesses with more than 50 employees make contraception available with no co-pay. Owners must provide pharmaceuticals that work as abortifacients, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
Staver says doing so is unconstitutional under the First Amendment and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
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The RFRA, a 1993 law, restricts the federal government’s ability to compel people to act against their religious beliefs. To do so, the government must have a compelling interest and pursue it in the least restrictive means possible, exhausting every other option.
The law’s critics say it fails on both counts, pointing out that contraception increases risks of breast cancer and strokes, and that the government could use less coercive means, such as distributing birth control directly.
Protestant and Jewish clergy have joined the Catholic hierarchy over the last two years to fend off any law that infringes on the practice of their religion.