Wednesday, May 22, 2013

4th Circuit Hears Oral Arguments Second Time In Liberty University's Affordable Care Act Challenge

Last Friday, in the second time the case is before the court, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Liberty University, Inc. v. Lew.  The case is now a religious freedom challenge to the contraceptive coverage mandate, as well as a broader challenge to the Affordable Care Act. An audio recording of the oral arguments is now available on the 4th Circuit's website. Politico reports on the oral arguments. Originally the case was filed before the contraceptive coverage mandate was promulgated.  The suit then claimed that the ACA more broadly permits federal funding of abortions and that it violates the Establishment Clause and equal protection clause because its narrow religious exemptions favor certain religious adherents. The 4th Circuit dismissed the case, holding that the Anti-Injunction Act barred the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari. Plaintiffs, however asked for a rehearing on the decision to deny review after the Supreme Court  in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius held that the Anti-Injunction Act does not bar a challenge to the ACA. The Supreme Court granted the rehearing, vacated it prior denial of certiorari and remanded the case to the 4th Circuit for further consideration in light of the National Federation of Business case. (See prior posting.)