Richmond, VA – The oral argument in Liberty University v. Geithner will be heard today, challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit at 1000 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, at 9:30 a.m. ET. The courtroom is open to the public and overflow seating will be available. A press conference will be held immediately following the arguments. Audio for the case will be available online by 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday at http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/.
Representing Liberty University and two private individuals, Liberty Counsel’s case is the first private case filed as a federal lawsuit against the health insurance law. The federal lawsuit was filed by Liberty Counsel on March 23, 2010, the same day President Obama signed the healthcare bill into law. Additionally, the Liberty Counsel case is the first challenge to the healthcare law to be argued at the appellate level. It will be followed by oral argument in the case Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius, which is arguing against the same law. That case challenges the individual mandate. Liberty University’s case challenges both the individual and the employer mandates.
The health insurance law makes reforms and forces everyone to participate by purchasing a certain kind of health insurance or paying a penalty. If the government has the ability to force unwilling participants to buy health insurance, then there is no limit on the government’s power. Liberty Counsel’s case argues that Congress lacks authority under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Taxing and Spending Clause. Liberty Counsel raises additional constitutional objections, including the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment Establishment Clause, and the Fifth Amendment Equal Protection Clause.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said: “This health insurance law redistributes wealth among private parties and is a boon to the insurance industry. The law has gone far beyond the outer limits of the Constitution by seeking to regulate noneconomic inactivity. This law is the beginning of centralized government. The stakes in the outcome of this case could not be higher.”