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Critics of Obamacare believed hopes of the Supreme Court striking down the key provisions of the federal health-care takeover were dashed when the individual mandate was upheld in June.
But on Monday, the justices ordered the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a suit filed by Liberty University that argues the individual and employer mandates are unconstitutional because they infringe on the free exercise of religion.
That argument was not part of the arguments in the cases decided in June. Liberty University contends the mandates require business owners and individuals to fund abortions, even though millions consider abortion in gross violation of their religious beliefs.
Mathew Staver is chairman of Liberty Counsel and represents Liberty University in this case. He told WND's Greg Corombos Monday's ruling doesn't guarantee anything in terms of a final verdict, but it's still very significant.
"This is huge. It revives our challenge to Obamacare," Staver said. "I believe it sends a good sign and a good message, and I'm very encouraged by the Supreme Court's decision."
The appeals court will likely hear arguments in the next few months, with a decision expected in late spring. Staver previewed the university's case.
"We will argue several things, including whether the employer mandate is constitutional," he explained. "We believe it exceeds congressional authority under the Constitution. But even if the Supreme Court were to uphold the employer mandate, we believe that it collides with the free exercise of religion, because Liberty University, like other religiously affiliated employers, will have to fund abortion. It also requires funding contraception and sterilization, which certainly collides with many other Roman Catholic beliefs."
Staver said the university will clearly state that all abortions – whether chemically induced by drugs shortly after conception or performed in an abortion clinic – are equally reprehensible to many people of faith.
"God created human life. Its sanctity and dignity are protected by God," Staver said. "We have no right to take innocent human lives, and certainly we cannot be forced to fund the taking of innocent life – basically forced to fund murder. We can't do that. That's a line that we simply cannot cross."
There is no middle ground in this fight, according to Staver. He said if this law is upheld, people will have to choose between obeying the law and adhering to their faith.
"Either you follow your conscience and your free exercise of religious convictions and you disobey the law, or you obey the law and you disobey your conscience and your free exercise of religion," he said. "There's no in-between. This is a direct collision with the free exercise of religion that's unprecedented in the scope of our history."
Staver noted that the case will inevitably end up back at the Supreme Court, with a final verdict probably coming in the first half of 2014.