- A conservative group that blocked Biden’s student-debt relief asked SCOTUS to take on the case.
- This is in addition to SCOTUS already agreeing to hear another case against the relief.
- The group argued Biden overstepped his authority to enact relief.
President Joe Biden’s administration and a conservative group that blocked student-loan forgiveness can agree on one thing: the nation’s highest court should hear arguments on the legality of the relief.
On Wednesday, the Job Creators Network, a conservative group representing plaintiffs who sued Biden’s debt relief in October, wrote in a legal filing that the Supreme Court should take up the case.
It’s the second case elevated to the Supreme Court on the matter after the highest court last month agreed to hear arguments early next year on a suit brought by six GOP-led states against the relief.
The Job Creators Network represents two plaintiffs who sued because they did not qualify for the full amount of relief — one did not receive a Pell Grant so could not qualify for $20,000 in loan forgiveness, which is only awarded to Pell Grant recipients, and the other had commercially-held loans that were not eligible.
They wrote in the filing that Biden’s administration overstepped its authority by using the HEROES Act of 2003 to cancel student debt, which gives the Education Secretary the ability to waive or modify student-loan balances in connection with a national emergency, like COVID-19.
“Congress never could have fathomed that the HEROES Act would be used to justify an agency action like the Program,” the filing said.
“The Department identifies not one legislator who believed that the HEROES Act authorized the Department to cancel debts—let alone to cancel nearly half a trillion dollars in debt for millions of borrowers,” it continued. “The Department also can’t identify any other agency action of similar size, scale, and importance that was lawfully created through the stroke of a pen, without notice and comment or any other similar process.”
The group argued that Biden should have gone through the typically rulemaking process and solicited public comment rather than decide to cancel student debt without input from the public or Congress. But the administration has regularly argued the HEROES Act gave it the authority to enact one-time debt relief to ensure borrowers do not resume payments in a worse place financially than they were pre-pandemic.
The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear arguments for a separate case that blocked the relief — the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the temporary pause it placed on the relief will remain in place, in response to a lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states who argued loan forgiveness would hurt their states’ tax revenues. It’s likely the Supreme Court could agree to combine both cases and hear them early next year.