Could reform law face a new legal challenge?

The health reform law may face a new legal challenge after the U.S. Department of Justice said it doesn't oppose allowing a federal appeals court to consider a lawsuit brought by a Virginia religious university.

In a brief filed Wednesday with the U.S. Supreme Court, the DOJ cleared the way for a new hearing based on claims from Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Va., that the reform law violates its religious freedoms, Reuters reported.

Liberty specifically challenged the reform's individual mandate and the provision requiring employers to provide coverage for their employees because they infringe upon First Amendment rights by forcing organizations to buy insurance that could subsidize abortion, even if they object to such health services.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously didn't rule on Liberty's case, finding it was barred by the federal Anti-Injunction Act, which prevents taxes being challenged in court before they take effect. But when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June on the reform law's challenge, it said the Anti-Injuction law doesn't prohibit a ruling on the merits of the individual mandate, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

And although the high court already declared the individual mandate and the rest of the reform law constitutional, Liberty requested a new hearing, saying it's challenging the mandate on different grounds.

To learn more:
- here's the DOJ brief filing (.pdf)
- read the Reuters article
- see The Hill's Healthwatch article

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