Glimmer of hope: Supreme Court may hear new challenge to ObamaCare

With Barack Obama’s re-election, pro-lifers’ hopes of repealing the abortion-empowering, liberty-stifling health care law have all but evaporated. The executive branch has vast discretion to directly implement much of the law, and while states have some power to resist, they can’t strike at the problem’s roots, and the House of Representatives is led by a man who seems unwilling to fight.

However, one glimmer remains. Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear another case, Liberty University v. Geithner, challenging ObamaCare’s constitutionality:

In addition to making the same arguments about the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate in regards to the Commerce Clause and Congress’ taxing powers, Liberty argues that the mandate violates other constitutional prohibitions. The university contends that Obamacare violates its First Amendment religious freedoms through its funding of abortions and other practices that are contradictory to the religious mission of the university.

The lawsuit also challenges one of the other major provisions of Obamacare—the Employer Mandate. This article of the law requires that all companies employing 50 or more people must provide health insurance that meets federal guidelines, or the employer will be subject to a penalty of $2,000 per employee, per year (a minimum penalty of $100,000 a year for companies that meet the 50 employee provision).

Despite having recently voted to uphold ObamaCare, the Supreme Court may very well vote to revisit the issue because only four votes are needed to accept a case. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito are safe bets, and given the intensity of his opposition to the law, Anthony Kennedy could very well seal the deal.

The real question is whether the outcome of a new hearing would be any different. We can safely assume that most of the judges would vote the same way, with one wild card: John Roberts. The chief justice’s original vote was clearly motivated by something other than ObamaCare’s constitutional merits, giving us a couple of possibilities.

If he voted to uphold because he simply thinks the law’s a good idea, then he’ll vote the same way this time, and it would probably be futile to remind him that his job description isn’t to be a glorified policymaker, but rather the faithful, impartial “umpire” he once pledged to be.

If Roberts voted to uphold because of concern for his image, then odds are against him resisting the accolades of the mainstream media and elite opinion makers this time around…though if conservatives undertook a vigorous media campaign to stress the real legacy he’ll earn by letting this blight on the Constitution stand, they could create a potent counter-influence.

If, however, he voted to uphold because he expected the people to do his job for him in November, then he might – just might – welcome a second chance to set things right. It’s a slim possibility, but given the lingering mystery of why Roberts originally ruled the way he did, nothing is inconceivable.

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