Justice Dept. OKs new arguments in healthcare lawsuit

A lower court declined to rule in Liberty's suit because it said the challenge was barred by the Anti-Injunction Act — a federal law that says taxes can't be challenged in court before they take effect. But when the Supreme Court issued its landmark healthcare ruling, in a separate case, it said the Anti-Injunction Act did not prevent a ruling on the merits of the individual mandate.

Because of that, Liberty says it should get another shot to make its case on the merits. Liberty, unlike the states whose case made it to the Supreme Court, challenged the mandate on religious grounds.

Liberty's initial complaint said because university employees would have to comply with the individual mandate and the university would have to to comply with the employer mandate, they "cannot protect their sincerely held religious beliefs against facilitating, subsidizing, easing, funding or supporting abortions."

The Justice Department said Wednesday that it does not object to Liberty's request for a new lower-court hearing. According to SCOTUSBlog, Justice said it would not "oppose further proceedings in the court of appeals" to resolve Liberty's claims.

That means the Supreme Court could vacate the lower court's ruling and allow that court to hear the case again. The Supreme Court hasn't yet scheduled a time to consider Liberty's request.