Liberty University’s Obamacare Loss Bad Omen for Hobby Lobby

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by DeVine Law

DeVine Law warned conservatives, after Chief Justice John Roberts turned the unconstitutional individual mandate “fine” into a constitutional “tax”, in order to avoid ruling Obamacare an invalid regulation of interstate commerce, that the only realistic hope for repeal lied in the political and not the legal arena.

On Monday, Roberts’ Supreme Court reduced those already minuscule hopes that First Amendment objections to the employer mandate would fare any better, when it upheld a July decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring the mandate to choose insurance coverage covering abortions only in instances of rape, incest or to protect the mother’s life did not violate the free exercise of religion:

The court dismissed a suit challenging central provisions of the law including the requirement that individuals obtain health insurance, according to Reuters. The petition was brought by Virginia’s Liberty University, the Christian college founded by evangelist Jerry Falwell, and two other individuals.

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would hear two cases challenging the health care law’s birth control mandate on religious grounds, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius andConestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. Those cases are slated to be heard next spring.

The Liberty University ruling is especially troubling with respect to prospects for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga since the latter concern for-profit corporations making primarily free exercise clause objections, given that those same objections were dismissed with respect to a non-profit, religiously affiliated college. The Obama Administration had already “fixed” the contraception (including sterilization and morning-after abortion pills) mandate with respect to actual churches by requiring insurance companies to provide that coverage, supposedly for “free”:

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