The Supreme Court will decide whether the debt relief policy of the president is harmful to people seeking relief or constitutes an excessive exercise of executive power.
Legal experts predict that the Supreme Court will likely stop the forgiveness program due to its majority of conservatives.
Before the president’s decision, Republicans had criticized student loan forgiveness as a gift to well-off college graduates. They also claimed that the president did not have the authority to grant consumer debts on his own without the approval of Congress.
It is still being determined what will happen to the Biden administration’s massive student loan forgiveness program now will be decided by the Supreme Court.
It could harm the borrowers, as per lawyers and experts in higher education.
“The conservatives on the court have been extremely assertive in challenging the rulings made by Congress or the President,” stated Gregory Caldeira, a political scientist at Ohio State University. “I would not be shocked that the court would invalidate this executive decree.”
Expert on higher education Mark Kantrowitz agreed.
“The U.S. Supreme Court is more likely than not to ban the student loan forgiveness program of the president,” Kantrowitz said.
The Supreme Court decided to consider the case after discovering that the U.S. Department of Justice made an emergency application asking the justices to lift an injunction regarding its forgiveness program. It was granted through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in St. Louis on an appeal from six Republican-led states.
They decide if the president’s debt relief plan is harmful to people seeking relief or represents an abuse of executive power, stating they will be hearing oral arguments in February.
A ruling will settle now its student loan issues.
On August 1, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. Department of Education would grant student loan repayments of up to $20,000 to tens of thousands of Americans. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the program will cost about $400 billion.
Before the president’s decision, Republicans had criticized student loan forgiveness as a gift to well-off college graduates. They also said that the president did not have the authority to grant consumer debts without Congress’s approval.
It’s not surprising that the legal challenges came into. Six lawsuits have been filed in opposition to the plan of the president.
The administration has shut down its portal that allowed borrowers to apply for relief in March, even though the sub was already available to 26 million who had asked for it.
“The advantage of the Supreme Court ruling is that it will resolve most of the disputes relating to the forgiveness of loans,” said Dan Urman, an associate law professor at Northeastern University.
The reason why is it that the Supreme Court may block forgiveness
There are various reasons Urman anticipates his prediction that the Supreme Court will be ruled against Biden. The conservative justices believe that government agencies are too powerful and “violate power separation.” Furthermore, Urman said that loan forgiveness contradicts their views of personal accountability.
However, this politically driven decision could harm the public’s impression regarding this Supreme Court, Urman said.
“Striking down forgiveness would add to the growing doubt that conservative justices support conservatives and that the liberal justices support Liberals,” Urman said. According to a Gallup survey found in the summer, only 25 percent of Americans are confident in the Supreme Court.
If the president’s proposal is rejected, he said it would be “another instance, in addition to guns and abortion, of the court taking positions which majority Americans would rather not support.”
In a The Economist and YouGov survey in August, 51% of those polled favor Biden’s debt relief plan. About 40% of respondents opposed the proposal.
“In the past, in the past, the Supreme Court usually ruled in the direction of public opinions,” Urman said.
Disputes about the limits of the presidential power
In addition to the acclaim of its debt relief program, the Biden administration insists it is following the law, noting that the Heroes Act of 2003 grants the secretary of education the power to waive regulations that pertain to student loans in national crises. It is worth noting that the U.S. has been operating under an emergency declaration since March 2020.
However, the lawyers representing the Republican-led states say that the government shouldn’t have the power to leverage this public health emergency to create this kind of policy.
“The administration is invoking the COVID-19 virus to gain power beyond the powers Congress could have imagined,” the lawyers wrote in a letter to justices, pointing out the Supreme Court had already halted the president’s ban on all states on expulsions.
But several advocacy groups for borrowers, in a recent filing, addressed to U.S. Supreme Court, claimed that forgiveness of student debt is essential to the nation’s recovery from the disease.
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The public health crisis has exacerbated the financial challenges of “borrowers who have for decades been at the mercy of the broken school loan program,” they wrote.
Without any cancellations, the bankers warned that “working or middle-class borrowers face a substantial danger from default.”
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