Bench Memos

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Today’s Routine Supreme Court Order in Obamacare Case


Today the Supreme Court granted the rehearing petition that Liberty University had filed regarding the Court’s previous denial of its certiorari petition, and it provided Liberty the GVR order that it requested—that is, the Court Granted the petition, Vacated the judgment below, and Remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit for further action. All nine justices joined in the routine order, which the Department of Justice did not oppose.

It’s theoretically possible that today’s order, by keeping Liberty University’s case alive, will lead to a great result down the road. But nothing in this routine order should be misread as signaling that the Court or any of its justices has a favorable view (or any view) of Liberty’s case. The order is simply a matter of proper housekeeping.

Specifically: When the Court, in the aftermath of its Obamacare ruling in June, initially denied Liberty’s cert petition, it evidently did so on the misunderstanding that its holdings disposed of all the claims that Liberty had advanced and preserved. But, as Liberty pointed out in its rehearing petition, the Fourth Circuit, having ruled against it on jurisdictional grounds (rejected by the Supreme Court), had never addressed various of Liberty’s claims outside the scope of the Supreme Court’s ruling. So the GVR order enables Liberty to have its remaining claims adjudicated.


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