Liberty University’s Obamacare loss bad omen for Hobby Lobby

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church-stateDeVine 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”:

The nation’s highest court long ago turned an interstate commerce clause meant to prevent states from acting as independent nations via tariffs and monopolies (except, curiously, with respect to private health insurance) with respect to other states of the United States into an affirmative grant of power for the federal government to micromanage the conduct of commerce per se. With federal minimum wage and similar laws ruled constitutional in the wake of President Franklin Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme by a New Deal Supreme Court fearful of losing its power and influence, it was inevitable that the employer mandate would be upheld.

The best chance for legal repeal of Obamacare went by the wayside when the Chief Justice decided that his legacy required that the court not strike down a law passed by both houses of Congress that originated in the Senate, even if it was accomplished by emasculating a “taxing power” clause requiring that such measures originate in the House of Representatives, in order to avoid expanding the interstate commerce clause to allow the government to mandate that individuals engage in commerce by virtue of having attained the age of 18. But the “penalty” rose by any other “tax” name smells as sweet for liberal Democrats that voted for Obamacare, even if it stinks to high heaven today.

We wish the attorneys for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga luck, but even if the employer-contraception-mandate were struck down (which we seriously doubt), it would still leave in place the individual and remaining employer and insurance company-coverage mandates that are resulting in mass policy cancellations, skyrocketing  prices, a doctor shortage and explosion of tax-payer-funded Medicaid rolls.

Only by persuading voters to vote Republican, and then persuading Republicans to uniformly discover and act upon their avowed conservatism will America be spared further blight at Obama’s un-caring hands.

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