Supreme Court remands challenge to ObamaCare back to Appeals Court

By Dave Andrusko

On the first day of its new term the United States Supreme Court this morning ordered the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear arguments brought by Liberty University against ObamaCare’s requirement that employers with at least 50 full-time employees provide insurance coverage and that contraceptives be covered.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that the Anti-Injunction Act precluded it from making a rulings about the mandate’s constitutionality before the mandate actually took effect and individuals began paying penalties for failing to have insurance.  When the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare last June, the justices rejected that viewpoint.

Liberty’s lawsuit was one of many dismissed when the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare. However Liberty maintained that its claims — dealing with the employer mandate and the free exercise of religion argument– were separate than those argued unsuccessfully.

“Liberty’s rehearing plea asked that, in place of a simple denial, the Court vacate the Fourth Circuit ruling that it lacked jurisdiction, and remand the case to be reconsidered in the wake of the health care decision,” according to veteran Court watcher Lyle Denniston. Without signaling where the justices might come down, the Court this morning agreed.

Obama’s Justice Department had previously told the Supreme Court that it did not oppose Liberty University’s Petition for a rehearing.

“The Fourth Circuit, which traditionally moves quickly, could hear oral arguments in the case next spring,” reports POLITICO’s Jennifer Haberkorn. “The school’s lawyers have told POLITICO that they hope to eventually bring the suit back before the Supreme Court.”

At this point what all this means is anyone’s guess.

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