The United States Supreme Court has cleared the way for a new challenge to the nation’s newly-enforced healthcare law, also known as Obamacare.
The court, in opening its new term today, agreed to allow the evangelical Christian college Liberty University of Lynchburg, Virginia to contest the law in the nation’s highest court as it pertains to the requirement that businesses and educational institutions provide contraceptive coverage to its employees.
Liberty University had first filed against Obamacare in the Supreme Court this past June, but its petition to hear the case was denied. The institution then asked the court to reconsider the matter, which it has now stated that may do — if Liberty University can get a second hearing from a lower court first.
The university is arguing that Obamacare’s contraception mandate violates the First Amendment in that it infringes upon the right to freedom of religion.
To date, over 40 religious organizations have filed federal lawsuits to challenge the requirement. The courts have been divided over the matter, as just last week a Bush-appointed judge in Oklahoma rejected Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the abortifacient requirement.
“Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion,” District Judge Joe Heaton wrote. “The question of whether the Greens can establish a free exercise constitutional violation by reason of restrictions or requirements imposed on general business corporations they own or control involves largely uncharted waters.”
However, earlier this month, a federal judge in Illinois issued a temporary injunction against the mandate in favor of the popular Bible publisher Tyndale House.
“[The abortion pill mandate] places substantial pressure on the plaintiffs to violate their beliefs,” said Judge Reggie Walton. “It places the plaintiffs in the untenable position of choosing either to violate their religious beliefs by providing coverage of the contraceptives at issue or to subject their business to the continual risk of the imposition of enormous penalties for its noncompliance.”
Additionally, in July of this year, a federal judge in Denver ruled in favor of the Catholic-owned company Hercules Industries, stating that the government’s interests “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.”
Traditionally, the United States Supreme Court has been more apt to accept cases pertaining to issues where there is disagreement among the circuit courts.
Liberty University has yet to comment on today’s decision.