December 1, 2010
Judge Rejects Liberty's Health Care Lawsuit
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit from Liberty University that said the health care reform law is unconstitutional and would permit the religious institution’s insurance payments to cover abortions, Politico reports.
“The Act explicitly states that no plan is required to cover any form of abortion services,” Judge Norman K. Moon wrote in his order Monday.
The White House praised the ruling. “The judge’s ruling today only underscores the importance of the law’s individual responsibility provision,” Stephanie Cutter wrote in a White House blog post Tuesday.
More details come from the New York Times and Politico (blockquote below).
Liberty – and five individuals who joined the suit — also argued that the employer and individual coverage requirements are beyond Congress’s powers and violate the First, Fifth and Tenth amendments. The suit claimed that the law is an illegal direct tax, violates the Constitution’s promise of a republic form of government and violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The university argued that it would face significant fines – of about $1.1 million— if the employer requirements are kept in place. The legislation requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance coverage to workers or face additional taxes.
The federal government countered that the university didn’t have a right to file the suit and that the issues aren’t ripe for trial.
Politico writes that oral arguments in the most high-profile case, a suit backed by 20 states and expected to end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, are scheduled for December 16.