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Today Liberty University Appeared in Federal Court Challenging the Healthcare Law

October 22, 2010

Today Liberty Counsel represented Liberty University and five additional clients against the new healthcare law opposing the federal government’s motion to dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Liberty Counsel’s lawsuit was filed on the same day the bill was signed into law and was the first private party lawsuit in the nation challenging the 2,409-page healthcare bill, signed into law on March 23, 2010. Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law and Founder of Liberty Counsel, presented oral argument before Judge Moon today in Lynchburg, Virginia, at 1101 Court Street at 10:00 a.m.

The argument follows rulings from courts in Richmond, Virginia, and Pensacola, Florida, which have denied the federal government’s motions to dismiss similar lawsuits against the healthcare bill. Last week in Pensacola, Florida, Judge Vinson let stand two causes of action in a suit filed by several state Attorneys General, one which challenges the bill’s Medicaid provisions and another which challenges the individual mandate to purchase insurance as exceeding Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. The latter claim is also a part of this suit filed by Liberty Counsel and also the subject of this request to dismiss.

The Liberty Counsel brief states that the plaintiffs’ claims are ripe for review, because the law’s unprecedented intrusion into plaintiffs’ private lives has an immediate effect on their constitutional rights. The government attempted to argue that the law is valid by creating an expansive definition of “interstate commerce” to include regulation of decisions not to buy health insurance. According to the government, Congress can compel citizens to involuntarily participate in commerce by mandating that they purchase a product or pay a penalty, merely because they might someday require healthcare. Liberty Counsel challenges these claims as contradictory to the limited powers granted to Congress in the U.S. Constitution.

Mathew Staver commented: “The Department of Justice has argued that Congress can force everyone to buy insurance in order to make it affordable to all. This socialist mentality would allow Congress to nationalize anything on the assumption that all must pay in order to make the object of regulation affordable to all. The power of the federal government to regulate has limits. This healthcare law is far beyond those limits.”