- Biden is asking an appeals court to stay a lower court ruling on his student loan program.
- The administration announced Thursday that it would appeal the issue to the Supreme Court.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to intervene in a legal battle over its $400 billion student loan forgiveness program — the latest development in a case including the administration has announced that it will appeal to the Supreme Court.
As expected, the administration asked the New Orleans-based United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to temporarily stay a lower court ruling last week that found the Department of Education had overstepped its authority with the debt forgiveness program.
“This court should not allow the elimination of debt relief for so many needy Americans based solely on two people’s assertion that the program has not gone far enough,” the Department of Education told the appeals court on Thursday.
The Biden administration has said it intends to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court. This emergency request would appeal a separate decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, based in St. Louis, which also blocked the program.
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In the 5th Circuit case, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled Nov. 10 that the debt relief effort violated the law and he blocked its nationwide implementation. The suit was filed by the conservative-leaning Job Creators Network Foundation, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan organization founded by entrepreneurs who believe the best defense against bad government policy is a well-informed public.”
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” Pittman wrote. “Instead, we are governed by a Constitution which provides for three separate and independent branches of government.”
It is this decision that the Biden administration asked to suspend on Thursday.
“would cost the government several billion dollars a month.”
In a separate case, the 8th Circuit on Nov. 14 granted an injunction to halt the program requested by six Republican-led states that argued Biden overstepped his authority when he cited COVID-19 as a national emergency. to write off student loan debt for millions. It is the decision of the 8th Circuit which could be the subject of a relatively quick appeal before the Supreme Court.
Associate Judge Amy Coney Barrett has twice dismissed other lawsuits seeking to end the loan forgiveness. Those lawsuits were dismissed by lower courts because the parties challenging the program lacked standing — or sufficient prejudice caused by the pardon plan that would allow them to sue in federal court.
Biden signed an executive order in August to grant debt cancellation, fulfilling a campaign promise sought after by young voters and progressives.
The President created the HEROES Act Debt Relief Plan, which was passed after 9/11 sparked a US-led military campaign against terrorism. The law gave the administration the power to cancel student loan debt in association with military operations or national emergencies. The White House has cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the national emergency to be invoked by invoking the law.
Under the president’s plan, borrowers would be eligible for debt relief of up to $10,000 or $20,000, depending on their income and whether they received a Pell grant while in college. Borrowers must earn less than $125,000 per year or reside in households that earn no more than $250,000. As many as 40 million people would be eligible for Biden’s plan, and some would have their entire balance wiped out.
Contributor: Joey Garrison