Liberty Law Dean Argues Health Insurance Law at the Court of Appeals

May 11, 2011

On Tuesday, May 10, Mathew D. Staver, Dean and Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law and Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, presented the first oral argument at the federal court of appeals in the case Liberty University v. Geithner, which took place at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Breaking the normal protocol of keeping arguments within strict time limits, the court doubled the time for oral argument, thus indicating a high level of interest in the case. This case challenges the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law on March 23, 2010.  

Staver led the argument on behalf of Liberty University and two private individuals, which are represented by Liberty Counsel. This case was the first private lawsuit filed against the new healthcare law and the first to be argued at the court of appeals. It will also likely be the first such case to reach the United States Supreme Court. A decision is expected to be rendered within the next 45 days. No matter which way the court rules, most legal experts agree that the Supreme Court will take the case because of its importance.  

According to Staver, “This health insurance law redistributes wealth among private parties to achieve an alleged humanitarian idea. In doing so, the law goes far beyond the outer edges of the Constitution by regulating noneconomic inactivity.” During oral argument, the Acting Solicitor General who argued for the United States acknowledged that the law was unprecedented. He also admitted that he believed Congress could force individuals to buy certain foods like wheat.

Staver said, “To hear the Acting Solicitor General admit that if the court upheld this massive health insurance law, then Congress could force individuals to purchase certain kinds of food was an astonishing, but true, admission. If ObamaCare is upheld, then Congress would no longer have any limitations on its regulatory power. Today it is health insurance, and tomorrow it could be food, transportation or housing. Big Brother would be able to be the CEO of every business and dictate our private choices. The implications are staggering. This law is the beginning of centralized government. The stakes in the outcome of this case could not be higher,” Staver said.

Following the hour and a half argument in the Liberty University case, the court heard arguments in the case of Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius. However, in that case the court focused almost exclusively on legal standing, questioning whether Virginia had the right to file suit challenging the individual mandate.

Audio for the case is available online at:  http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/.