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Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Liberty University v. Jacob J. Lew

Supreme Court should grant petition for writ of certiorari

October 14, 2013

Certiorari is warranted to clarify that engaging in some economic activity does not provide grounds for Congress to compel other economic activity. Certiorari is also needed to restore important Freedom of Conscience protections.

The power to regulate commerce "among" the States was never intended to be a general police power for the federal government to regulate for the health, safety, and morals generally by compelling the purchase of health insurance and compelling the inclusion of specific services. This Court has permitted Congress to stray very far indeed from the purpose of the Commerce Clause and the purpose of enumerated powers, but the decision of the Fourth Circuit obliterates any limits implied in the concept of enumerated powers and effectively holds that Congress has a general power to regulate for health, safety, and morals.

This expansion of federal power beyond the limits of what is granted in the text of the Constitution also has implications for other constitutionally protected liberties. Congress and the President have used this unconstitutional expansion of power to impose regulationson individuals that compel the violation oftheir firmly held religious beliefs. Review in this case is warranted to examine the circumstances under which government may compel individuals (both employees and employers) to abandon their religion in obedience to an unreviewable regulatory dictate.

For the foregoing reasons (elaborated in the full amicus brief below), the petition for writ of certiorari should be granted.


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