Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced in convocation today that Liberty University is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel challenging the legality of the healthcare reform bill signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. This act of litigation makes Liberty the first private organization to pursue legal opposition to the bill.
“We here at Liberty believe that the healthcare bill that was signed into law this week is an attack on our freedoms and our liberties that our founders fought and died to secure,” said Falwell. “This university is named Liberty for a reason. We believe in defending the liberties that are guaranteed by our Constitution.”
Falwell said another pending piece of legislation, the reconciliation bill, is expected to be signed in the coming days and will give the government control over the student loan industry.
“You will pay 17 or 18 hundred dollars more per year, per student, and they are going to use that to finance this healthcare bill,” he said. “So [the healthcare reform bill] will be paid for on the back of students.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, cited several additional reasons for Liberty’s decision to pursue a legal action against the bill.
“There has never been another time in American history where federal government bureaucrats have told you that you must buy a particular product, let alone a particular insurance product,” said Staver. “We believe that this legislation is unconstitutional.”
Staver stated that the healthcare reform bill will penalize Liberty — a private, non-profit organization — for each staff and faculty member along with their spouses and dependents covered under the university’s insurance plan. These fees will increase the cost of insurance, which will in turn affect faculty, staff and students in many ways, including the possible reduction of student workers the university will be able to employ.
Additionally, Staver argues that in spite of executive amendments to the legislation, the healthcare reform funds abortion.
“Make no mistake about it; the so-called executive order does not take away the funding of abortion,” said Staver. “The president’s executive order will not be worth the paper it’s written on, so you and every other American will directly fund abortion under the healthcare bill.”
Staver said Liberty is taking the lead on this lawsuit because of the Chancellor’s commitment to the protection of individual rights according to the United States Constitution.
“Liberty’s became the first private lawsuit in the nation … sending the message that Liberty University will stand for its name of Liberty, will stand for its students, will stand for freedom, and Liberty intends to make sure that this law is ruled unconstitutional.”
Chancellor Falwell closed by encouraging students to register to vote in local elections in the coming days and influence local government decisions.
“At least on the local level you all can make the difference to make sure similar things don’t happen.”