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Justices allow challenge to ACA mandates

Nov. 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday cleared the way for a Virginia university to proceed with its challenge to two sections of the Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court returned the case of Liberty University vs. Geithner to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider the university's challenges to the individual and employer mandates in the healthcare law.

During the last term, the justices denied review of Liberty University's appeal, but their action Monday vacated the earlier order and remanded the case to the appeals court in Richmond for further review, Scotusblog.com reported.

"The [June 29] judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit for further consideration in light of National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius," the case that upheld the individual mandate in President Obama's signature healthcare legislation, a summary of court action indicated.

The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the healthcare law under Congress' taxing powers to require that virtually all Americans have health insurance by 2014 or be penalized.

The ACA also has a similar mandate that requires employers with at least 50 employees to provide adequate insurance coverage. The Supreme Court did not rule on that issue.

Liberty University in Lynchburg has challenged both mandates, contending they violate rights to religious freedom or to legal equality under the constitution. The appeals court didn't decide either of the claims because it ruled the Federal Anti-injunction Act barred Liberty from suing to stop the mandates. In the ruling, the justices said the lower court must reconsider that issue.

The court did not grant any new cases Monday, Scotusblog said.

In a summary ruling in Nitro-Lift Technologies vs. Howard, the court ruled the Oklahoma Supreme Court erred when it prevented the arbitration of a dispute over the scope of non-competition agreements in employment contracts.

The court also refused to hear a claim the Constitution requires states to allow an accused person an opportunity to use insanity as a defense to a criminal charge. Three justices -- Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor -- dissented in the denial of Delling vs. Idaho.

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