A federal judge threw out a lawsuit on Tuesday that argued the health care reform law's insurance coverage mandate violates the religious freedom of those who rely on God to protect them, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington, D.C., dismissed the suit that was filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, the group founded by conservative evangelist Pat Robertson. The suit was filed on behalf of five Americans who have declined to buy health insurance even though they can afford it.
The plaintiffs' suit argued that the coverage mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
Kessler, appointed to the court by former President Clinton, ruled that Congress can regulate health care spending under the Commerce Clause, and said that anyone who objects to the mandate can pay the penalty for not buying coverage.
"We welcome this ruling, which marks the third time a court has reviewed the Affordable Care Act on the merits and upheld it as constitutional," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, according to the AP. "This court found—as two others have previously—that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable measure for Congress to take in reforming our health care system."