Supreme Court delivers one of two legal victories for Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan


Federal courts took two wins on Thursday over President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. Supreme Court Justice Amy Comey Barrett rejected a challenge from a Wisconsin taxpayer group’s program. And on the same day, a federal court dismissed a separate lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states.

Student loan cancellations, worth up to $20,000 per eligible borrower, could begin on Sunday.

The appeal at issue in the Supreme Court case was considered an uphill battle, as lower courts had ruled that the group, the Brown County Taxpayers Association, did not have the legal right or “status” to rise to the challenge. to go. Under normal circumstances, taxpayers have no general right to sue the government for how it uses taxpayers’ money.

Barrett acted only because she has jurisdiction over the lower court that ruled on the case. She declined to refer the case to the full court. Her denial appeared as a single sentence on the court’s roll.

A Missouri federal judge, U.S. District Judge Henry Edward Autrey, dismissed the GOP-led states’ lawsuit, also because the plaintiffs did not have the legal standing to rise to the challenge.

The plaintiffs in that case had asked the judge to suspend the student loan termination pending a final ruling in the case. The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Missouri last month by attorneys general from the state of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska and South Carolina, as well as legal representatives from Iowa.

The states have appealed and have sent the case to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, where it is likely to face a panel of conservative judges.

The Biden administration is also facing lawsuits from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and conservative groups such as the Job Creators Network Foundation and the Cato Institute.

Many of the legal challenges allege that the Biden administration does not have the legal authority to largely cancel student loan debt.

Government lawyers allege that Congress gave the Secretary of Education the power to pay off debts in a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act.

Though rejected by a federal judge, the legal challenge filed by the six states is widely seen as one of the most formidable challenges to make its way through the courts.

It’s the “most plausible legal challenge ahead of the Biden anniversary,” said Luke Herrine, an assistant professor of law at the University of Alabama who previously worked on a legal strategy that pushed for student debt forgiveness. tweet Thursday.

Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, first announced in August, aims to provide debt relief to millions of borrowers before federal student loan payments resume in January after a nearly three-year pandemic-related hiatus.

While the application was officially opened on Monday, the Biden administration has agreed in court documents to forgive debts until Oct. 23. Once processing begins, most eligible borrowers are expected to receive debt relief within a few weeks.

Under Biden’s plan, eligible individual borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 and married couples or householders who earned less than $250,000 per year during those years will see up to $10,000 waived of their federal student loans.

If an eligible borrower also received a federal Pell grant while enrolled in college, the person is eligible for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness.

This headline and story have been updated with additional information.

Leave a Comment