Liberty University’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act will return to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia; the school is focused on returning the law to the United States Supreme Court.
Liberty’s lawsuit encompasses everything from contraceptive coverage to the employer mandate. Liberty asserts that the individual and employer mandates violate the First Amendment’s religious protections, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; and that since the individual mandate’s penalty was ruled a tax by the Supreme Court, the bill should have started in the House, not the Senate. The school contends that the law is violating its right to religious freedom by requiring it to cover, through its employee health plans, birth control and drugs that it says can cause abortions. Furthermore, Liberty says the federal government has no right under the Commerce Clause to require employers to buy insurance.
A three-judge panel will hear Liberty’s case. It is possible that the same three judges who heard Liberty’s first hearing in May 2011 could hear the case again. The panel is expected to rule sometime this summer.