Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness: 5 Takeaways From Supreme Court Hearing Day One

VA: President Of The United States Joe Biden Delivers Remarks On Affordable Healthcare And Republicans, Virginia Beach - 28 Feb 2023
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Feb. 28 marked the first day of the Supreme Court hearings on President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. Many borrowers are keeping a close eye on this court hearing, as they could potentially qualify to have up to $20,000 of student loans dismissed.

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One case was brought against the program by six Republican states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina. These states allege that the Biden administration does not have the legal authority to cancel billions of dollars of student loans. A second was filed by two borrowers who do not, either partially or fully, qualify for student loan forgiveness. Their case is based on the argument that their procedural rights were ignored because the public was not given the opportunity to provide their opinions and input on the forgiveness plan.

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Here are 5 key takeaways from the first day of the Supreme Court hearings on student loan forgiveness:

  • Biden’s administration argues that the plaintiffs do not have ‘standing’ for their cases: The Biden administration’s main argument is that there is no basis for the cases brought by challengers of the loan forgiveness program. If they can prove this, then they can avoid arguing the merits of the cases altogether.
  • Another main argument hinges on presidential authority during a state of emergency: The Biden administration argues that the 2003 Heroes Act gives the Department of Education the authority to provide student loan forgiveness. This law grants the Secretary of Education authority, during national emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic emergency declaration, to alter the federal student loan system.
  • Conservative justices seem skeptical: At times throughout the hearing, the six conservative justices of the Supreme Court seemed unconvinced of the Biden administration’s arguments.
  • Justice Barrett may support Biden’s argument of lack of standing: According to University of Texas law professor Steve Vladek, it seems possible that Justice Barrett might be a fourth vote agreeing that neither of the cases have sufficient standing in court. He tweeted: “It seems like Justice Barrett may well be a *fourth* vote to hold that neither the six red states nor the two private plaintiffs have standing to challenge the Biden student loan debt relief program. The multi-billion dollar question is whether there’s a fifth. I’m skeptical.”
  • Biden still needs to find a fifth vote: To prove lack of standing, the Biden administration is still challenged to find support among at least one more of the six conservative justices to get the majority ruling in their favor. At this time, there is no clear indication of which justice besides Justice Barrett would support this argument.
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About the Author

Becky Neubauer is a personal finance and science freelance writer who specializes in writing about managing money, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and alternative living. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, and she learned about personal finance on her journey to pay off $100,000 in student loans. Becky is an avid traveler focused on helping others live location-independent lifestyles, make money on the road, and travel the world through her website
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