ACRU's Liberty U. Brief: ObamaCare Violates Religious Freedom


ACRU Staff


March 7, 2013

WASHINGTON (March 6) – In an amicus brief filed at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) argues that the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act’s (PPACA) employer and individual mandates are unconstitutional burdens on religious freedom. It is the ACRU’s ninth federal court brief challenging ObamaCare.

Authored by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara in Liberty University v Timothy Geithner, the brief’s key arguments are:

  • “The Supreme Court … found the PPACA’s individual mandate to be without authorization under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. This Court should find the same for the employer mandate.”
  • “The employer mandate is also not justifiable under the Taxing and Spending Clause. …. The Court upheld the individual mandate only because the assessment imposed on individuals … did not cross the line between a permissible tax and an impermissible punitive penalty under Bailey v. Drexel Furniture (1922). …the employer mandate involves a prohibitive penalty similar to the one struck down in Drexel.”

“In 2012, Liberty University employed 6,900 people, with net claims for its self-insured health insurance of $14,214,000. Yet Liberty University would be fined $20,700,000 ($3,000 x 6,900) if only one employee meets the 9.5 percent ‘unaffordable’ criterion. That penalty would be on top of the additional penalty of $2,000 per employee ($13,800,000) that Liberty University would have to pay for providing coverage excluding abortifacients, for a total combined penalty of $34,500,000. That would be in addition to the $14,214,000 that Liberty University paid in claims for its health insurance coverage in 2012. That would tax or penalize Liberty University out of existence.”

  • The employer mandate is an unconstitutional violation of the free exercise of religion.
  • “If Liberty University complies with the employer mandate… it will violate fundamental religious beliefs that life begins at conception, and that abortion is consequently murder of pre-born children in their mothers’ wombs….”
  • For the same reason, the individual mandate is an unconstitutional violation of the freedom of religion.
  • Finally, “the PPACA does not include a standard severance clause. … This Court should declare the employer mandate and individual mandate unconstitutional, and, since those provisions are not severable, should declare the entire Act unconstitutional.”




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