Biden's student loan plan is an abuse of power. Supreme Court must rule against it.
If previous cases are any indication, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court will push back against the Biden’s administration’s rationale for why such broad loan forgiveness is necessary.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear two cases related to President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel student loan debt for millions of borrowers. It should be the end of the road for what is clearly an overreach by the president.
After announcing his proposal last summer to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt, Biden framed opposition to his giveaway as Republicans being mean.
Yet Republicans – and any American concerned with the separation of powers – are worried about much more than the plan’s minimum cost of $400 billion for taxpayers, including those who never went to college themselves.
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The cases center on how far the executive branch and regulatory agencies can go without direct authorization from Congress.
SCOTUS likely to strike down Biden's student loan forgiveness
If previous cases are any indication, the conservative 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court will push back against the Biden administration’s pandemic rationale for why such broad forgiveness is necessary.
The high court has already struck down several similar attempts from Biden officials.
For instance, in 2021, the Supreme Court overturned the administration’s continuation of the eviction ban. And in January 2022, the court ruled against the Biden mandate to force COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements on large businesses. Similarly, the court in June ended the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to regulate power plant emissions.
In all these cases, the issue at hand was overreach by administration officials.
“The court has shown a growing skepticism or lack of patience with presidents and administrations that discover new meaning in old statutes,” Elizabeth Slattery, senior legal fellow at the Pacific Legal Foundation, told me.
The merits of this case are no different.
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The Pacific Legal Foundation filed the first major lawsuit against the student loan forgiveness plan in September, and while its case is not one before the Supreme Court, it also filed a recent amicus brief on behalf of several former lawmakers.
These lawmakers were instrumental in the passage of the 9/11-era HEROES Act – the law that Biden has used to justify the loan cancellation. They argue that the law was never meant to be used so broadly. Rather, it was targeted to aid service members who were at war.
Was this all an election ploy?
It seems as if even Biden, who didn’t mention loan forgiveness in his State of the Union address this month, has realized his plan is a lost cause.
That is odd, considering the priority he gave it ahead of November's midterm elections.
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And Biden has acknowledged several times in the past year that the “pandemic is over” and has finally set an end date for the dual COVID emergency declarations. Biden's claim that the pandemic hurt student loan borrowers is why the HEROES Act has been used as the basis for his plan. Take away that emergency and there isn’t any legal justification left.
The timing of Biden’s announcement and his push to ram it through ahead of the election point to his use of loan forgiveness as a way to entice Democrats – especially young ones – to vote.
That ploy may have worked. But in the end, the president’s abuse of his authority and his hollow promises of aid have caused confusion and consternation for millions of Americans.
The Supreme Court should once again stand for the separation of powers and quash this illegal – and costly – giveaway.
Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques
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