Skip to comments.Liberty’s Obamacare Challenge Provides Glimmer of Hope
Posted on 03/12/2013 11:00:27 AM PDT by Kaslin
In 1919, back when the United States was a constitutional republic, Congress passed a child labor law imposing a 10 percent excise tax on companies that violated it.
A North Carolina furniture maker challenged the law and won. In 1922, the Supreme Court ruled in Bailey v. Drexel Furniture that although child labor laws have a noble purpose, the means Congress using taxing power as a penalty was unconstitutional.
This was before Franklin Roosevelts court-packing threat in1937 ended the Supreme Courts resistance to grandiose expansions of federal power. The child labor issue, by the way, was resolved when states enacted laws prohibiting exploitation.
The Drexel decision resurfaced as precedent last year at the Supreme Court in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sibelius. Thats where the Roberts court upheld the individual mandate to buy health insurance as an indirect tax, and thus upheld Obamacare as constitutional.
The Court ruled that Congress cant make people buy a product, but that it can tax people who choose not to buy it. Yes, its as wacky as the 1942 Wickard v. Filburn ruling, in which a farmer was fined under interstate commerce regulations for raising grain for his own cows. And you wonder how the federal government got so big?
In the Obamacare case, the majority justified the tax ploy by saying that the individual mandate didnt rise to the level of a punitive penalty as rejected in Drexel.
The Roberts court also ruled that the employer mandate to provide employee health insurance could not be justified under the Taxing and Spending Clause that the court used to justify the individual mandate, because it involves a severe penalty like the one that Drexel struck down.
This brings us to a glimmer of hope that the Court will right the massive wrong of finding Obamacare constitutional. They can do this by ruling for Liberty University, which has sued to overturn the employer mandate on religious freedom grounds. The independent Christian college has several reasons for challenging the employer mandate, but it boils down to the fact that the penalty is so severe that it would bankrupt the college.
In January 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an order implementing Obamacare by requiring employers that have 50 or more employees to provide minimum essential coverage for employees and dependents. The minimum includes abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilization. After a public uproar, HHS gave Catholic hospitals and faith-based colleges like Liberty a year to figure out how to violate their consciences. Not even that was offered to businesses like the craft chain Hobby Lobby, whose Christian owners are also refusing to comply and are challenging the law.
In an amicus brief filed on March 6 at the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, American Civil Rights Union General Counsel Peter Ferrara notes that:
If Liberty University complies with the employer mandate...it will violate fundamental religious beliefs that life begins at conception, and that abortion is consequently murder of pre-born children in their mothers' wombs. The PPACA consequently mandates that the University violate its religious beliefs.
Founded in 1971 by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell, Liberty is the largest Christian college in America, with 12,000 on-campus students and another 62,000 pursuing degrees online. In fact, its the largest private, nonprofit university in the country. Mr. Ferraras brief explains why the universitys refusal to embrace Caesars immoral mandate would be crushingly expensive.
If even a single employee finds the insurance unaffordable, defined as when an employees portion of the premium exceeds 9.5 percent of his or her household income, fines would be imposed based on all university employees.
An employer mandate violation can very easily result under the PPACA, Mr. Ferrara explains. A family of four with a single income-earner will easily make the employers coverage for his entire work force unaffordable. If the health insurance for each person in the household costs only $2,500, then the single income earner would need to make over $100,000 to meet the PPACA employer mandate requirements for an affordable plan. These penalties will quickly become massive, even destructive, which qualifies them as unconstitutional punitive penalties rather than permissible taxes under Drexel Furniture.
Heres more from the brief: "In 2012, Liberty University employed 6,900 people, with net claims for its self-insured health insurance of $14,214,000. Yet Liberty University would be fined $20,700,000 ($3,000 times 6,900) if only one employee meets the 9.5 percent "unaffordable" criterion.
That penalty would be on top of the additional penalty of $2,000 per employee ($13,800,000) that Liberty University would have to pay for providing coverage excluding abortifacients, for a total combined penalty of $34,500,000. That would be in addition to the $14,214,000 that Liberty University paid in claims for its health insurance coverage in 2012.
Result? This would tax or penalize Liberty University out of existence.
For the same reasons of conscience cited by Liberty, the individual mandate is an unconstitutional violation of the freedom of religion, the brief contends.
Congress declined to include a severance clause, which would have left Obamacare in place if portions were declared unconstitutional. All parties agreed that without the mandate, the system would collapse. Without it, people would not buy insurance until they needed it.
This Court should declare the employer mandate and individual mandate unconstitutional, the ACRUs brief concludes, and, since those provisions are not severable, should declare the entire Act unconstitutional."
The Supreme Court will eventually hear this case. Americas health care system is hanging on a wing and a prayer.
How? Roberts has already demonestrated that obama owns the Supreme Court.
I myself wait and see with which side he agrees before I make a judgement
will continue this (maybe) if necessary
By 1942, FDR had appointed eight of the nine Scotus justices. By Wickard, in a boldfaced usurpation, Scotus seized regulation of intrastate commerce from the States.
Questions: If the States still appointed Senators, would federal courts have dared to steal a power reserved to the States? Absent the 17th, would the 1930s Senate have consented to the appointment of judges hostile to the 10th and enumerated powers? Would FDR have bothered to nominate such judges in the first place?
The 17th does not get the discredit it deserves.
I meant to include in the future as to I myself wait and see wwth which side he agrees in the future before I make a judgement
No faith....*certainly* no faith in this nation's courts.My only consolation is that I'm now *far* closer to the grave than to the cradle so *I*,at least,won't have to suffer *that* long.But then there are the subsequent generations...
The 17th was the edge of the abyss. It has been a long fall but if there is a bottom we are close.
I have little faith in the Robert’s court.
I hope you are right.
see my tagline
In the abyss there are no ladders.
“Result? This would tax or penalize Liberty University out of existence.
Taxing this country out of existence is obama’s main mission. If he can do it through “health care” then I imagine it will come all that much faster.
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