Washington, DC – Liberty University and two private individuals filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, requesting the High Court to review the case from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “ObamaCare”). The case is Liberty University v. Geithner, and the parties are represented by Liberty Counsel. This case is the only one that challenges both the individual and the employer health insurance mandates.
On September 8, a divided court ruled that the mandate is a “tax,” and the federal Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) prohibits the court from ruling on the merits until the “tax” is paid and a refund sought by the taxpayer. Thus, the case could not be brought until the mandate becomes effective in 2014. Every court which has considered this question has found that the mandate is a “penalty,” not a tax, and the AIA does not apply. Even the federal government argued that the AIA does not apply and that the statutory intent clearly indicated that the AIA was inapplicable.
Fourth Circuit Judge Wynn noted that he would uphold ObamaCare under the Taxing and Spending Clause. Of the 14 judges who have ruled on this law from various courts, Wynn is the first one to rely on the Taxing and Spending Clause. Every other judge rejected this argument. Judge Davis said he would uphold the law under the Commerce Clause. He said Congress could force people to buy products, such as health insurance or food.
It is almost certain that the High Court will accept one or more cases involving ObamaCare. It is likely the Court will accept the Florida case that has 26 states, because there the individual mandate was struck down. It is also likely the Court will accept the Liberty University case, because the issue of the AIA must be decided before the Court reaches the merits and it has the only challenge to the employer mandate. Either way, a ruling is expected before the end of June 2012.
Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, who presented oral argument in the case, said: “This challenge to ObamaCare is entering the final phase, and its ultimate fate will be decided at the U.S. Supreme Court. This novel and unprecedented law has caused confusion among the courts and has stymied the economy, because employers will not hire when the future of healthcare costs remains uncertain. ObamaCare is an unprecedented expansion of the federal government’s power to micromanage personal choices. Its end will be welcomed by many.”