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SCOTUS denies certiorari in Obamacare case Liberty University v Lew

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The Supreme Court has denied certiorari in one of the three cases challenging Obamacare.

SCOTUSblog has made the list of today's Supreme Court orders available on its site. On page 3, they indicate that Liberty University's petition for cert has been denied. As noted by the Examiner, Liberty v Lew was one of three petitions challenging Obamacare that was considered in conference last week. Certiorari was granted last week in Sebelius v Hobby Lobby and Autocam v Sebelius. The decision on Liberty was delayed until today, possibly due to a last minute emergency submission by the White House. The submission argued against issuing cert in the Liberty case.

The Liberty case was significant in that it was the only one of the three to make a Constitutional argument. And perhaps this was why certiorari was denied. All three cases argued that the implementation of Obamacare violated the Religious Freedom Restoration ACT ("RFRA").

Generally speaking, SCOTUS prefers to decide matters on a statutory basis rather than a Constitutional basis when it can. This is particularly true for the more conservative members of the Court.

Obviously, Constitutional challenges to statutes are a huge threat. So the denial in this case must have come as very welcome news to the White House, whose signature health care legislation is beset by technical problems, a string of implementation delays, accusations of broken promises and a growing public unease as the precise details of the plan become known.

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