Judge Amy Coney Barrett denies trying to block Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan from taking effect
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday dismissed a challenge to the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program, declining to appeal brought by a group of Wisconsin taxpayers.
The order is a victory for President Joe Biden so far, although there are other challenges headed to the high court.
Student loan cancellations, worth up to $20,000 per qualifying borrower, could begin Sunday.
The appeal in question was considered an uphill battle because lower courts ruled that the group, the Brown County Taxpayers Association, did not have legal standing or “standing” to file the suit. Under normal circumstances, taxpayers do not have a general right to sue the government for its use of taxpayer funds.
Barrett acted alone because she has jurisdiction over the lower court that ruled on the case. She refused to refer the case to the full court. Her denial appeared as a single sentence in a court filing.
Federal District Court Judge rejected a separate lawsuit by six Republican-led states On Thursday, and because the prosecutors did not have legal standing to file a complaint.
Prosecutors in that case asked a federal judge to put the student loan cancellation on hold pending a final ruling on the case.
States are expected to appeal immediately. That would send the case to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it is likely to face a panel of conservative justices.
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 argue that the Biden administration lacks the legal authority to cancel student loan debt on a large scale.
Attorneys for the government argue that Congress gave the education secretary authority to pay off the debt in a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act.
Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, first announced in August, aims to relieve debt for millions of borrowers before federal student loan payments resume in January after a nearly three-year pause related to the pandemic.
While the application officially opened on MondayThe Biden administration agreed in court documents to delay canceling any debt until Oct. 23. Once processing begins, most qualified borrowers are expected to receive debt relief within a few weeks.
Under Biden’s plan, qualified individual borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in either 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who earned less than $250,000 a year in those years would have up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.
If the qualified borrower also received a federal Pell grant while enrolled in college, an individual is eligible for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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