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Liberty University Appeals Individual Mandate Claim to SCOTUS

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 14, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Liberty University is the latest plaintiff to file an individual mandate appeal with the Supreme Court. The conservative school, founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell, filed the appeal on Monday.

Liberty University Attorney Mathew Staver expects the court to decide whether to consider the case before it takes its December break, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Liberty University’s individual mandate challenge in September. Liberty argued that the penalties to be assessed for non-compliance with the Affordable Care Act were unconstitutional; the court found that individual mandate penalties could not be reviewed under the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) because penalties are a type of tax that cannot be attacked through pre-enforcement.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected two individual mandate challenges this year. The court found that Liberty University's claim was not yet ripe, but could be renewed after the Affordable Care Act becomes effective in 2014. The court dismissed the other lawsuit, Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius, because the plaintiffs lacked standing. Both Virginia plaintiffs have now appealed.

How does the Liberty University appeal affect the overall individual mandate scoreboard?

The Sixth Circuit upheld the individual mandate provision, the Eleventh Circuit struck it, and the Third and Ninth Circuits have dismissed individual mandate challenges. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has heard oral arguments in an Affordable Care Act challenge, but has not issued an opinion. Supreme Court Appeals have been filed in the Sixth, Eleventh and Fourth Circuit decisions.

For additional news and updates on the individual mandate challenges and appeals, check FindLaw's Supreme Court blog.

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