The Supreme Court has ordered a federal appeals court to revisit whether a key requirement in the health care law violates religious freedoms, specifically in the case of Liberty University in Virginia.
The private Christian university had a pending lawsuit against the new bill, claiming among other things that the law would lead to taxpayer dollars funding abortions and contraception, reports CNN.
The Obama administration soundly rejects the notion, but America’s highest court still issued the order on Monday. The high court upheld the law in June, which has been championed by the Obama administration. Despite this, they still left room for legal challenges to continue on certain aspects of the law’s application.
The university’s lawsuit was already ruled on by a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals last year. Their ruling was to block the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. All of the appeals related to the Affordable Care Act were also tossed out once the Supreme Court upheld the Act.
Liberty University refiled its lawsuit, however, saying that their objections should be reconsidered in light of the ruling. The school believes that Americans should not be required to purchase health insurance, and employers should not have to provide it, if there are legitimate moral and religious objections to some of the provisions.
The Chicago Tribune notes that lawyers for Liberty University believe that it is unconstitutional for the government to require large employers to provide health care for their full-time workers or be subject to a tax. No one has seriously disputed the fact that the law gives the government a broad power to regulate employers.
The justices did not even consider the claim earlier this year. They instead debated if Congress has the authority to require someone to purchase insurance or pay a tax (the individual mandate).
Liberty’s lawyers also assert that the “forced funding of abortion” under the Act violates the institution’s right to religious liberty. Administration officials have said that the law does not require the funding of abortions. District judges have also rejected the claim.
The Supreme Court, however, stated that Liberty University’s claims have not been heard or decided upon, meaning that their claim should be heard. The Obama administration also told the justices last month that they have no objection to the order.