Supreme Court hears arguments on student loan waiver scheme

2:33 PM ET, February 28, 2023

Key Takeaways from SCOTUS Oral Arguments in Cases Challenging Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

From CNN’s Tierney Snead and Devan Cole

Police officers walk outside the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Tuesday.

(Patrick Semansky/AP)

The Supreme Court heard Oral arguments on Tuesday’s two challenges Many conservative justices are skeptical of the government’s authority to pay off millions of dollars in federal loans, thanks to President Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan.

The hearing made it clear that if conservatives ultimately rule in favor of those fighting the policy, they will face legal questions about why states and individual borrowers should be allowed to sue over the program. Arguments.

Millions of student loan borrowers qualify Up to $20,000 of their debt can be written off Depending on the outcome of the arguments. The justices’ ruling will determine how and when payments on federal student loans will resume after a pandemic-related pause nearly three years ago.

In Biden v. nebraska, A Republican-led group of states argued the administration overstepped its authority by using the pandemic to cover up its real goal of fulfilling a campaign promise to wipe out student-loan debt.

The second case, Department of Education Vs. Brown argues that it was initially brought by two individuals who did not qualify for the program and that the government failed to follow the proper rulemaking process when implementing it.

Here are some excerpts from the oral arguments:

Conservatives see the case as another opportunity to rein in Biden’s aggressive actions: In questions posed by the conservative justices, they signaled that they were looking to make the GOP states’ case to the court. Another opportunity to draw lines The executive branch can and cannot function without Congress.

About what are called multiple exchanges “Key Questions Theory” A legal doctrine espoused by the Court’s Republican appointees would expect Congress to speak with specificity when it authorizes an agency to do something of great political or economic importance.

Under the theory, the states argue that the Biden student loan program should be blocked.

GOP State’s Attorney Stands and Grills: A key theme was whether GOP states were threatened with the kind of harm appropriate for a court to intervene. Campbell received a series of questions — from justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum — about whether states had crossed these procedural thresholds, known as “standing.”

A particular flashpoint in the investigation is the Missouri stance on MOHELA — a Missouri-incorporated entity that makes loans in the state — potentially harmful to the loan forgiveness program. Several judges noted that MOHELA could have filed its own suit against the project, but did not.

Barrett could be a justice: Judge Amy Coney Barrett Among conservatives, the GOP singled her out as a potential vote for the court’s three liberal members to ask pointed questions about the states’ arguments.

“If Mohela is part of the state, why don’t you say you’re a strong-arm Mohela and pursue this case,” Barrett asked Campbell, who asked him several questions about the states’ positions.

Even if Barrett voted for liberals to dismiss the case because of sustainability concerns, the Biden administration would need the vote of one more GOP-appointed judge.

Sotomayor raises the practical stakes of the case: In comments extended to Campbell, Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained the practical implications of the case in stark terms.

“There are 50 million students — who will benefit from this. Who will struggle today. Many of them don’t have enough assets to bail out after the pandemic. They don’t have friends or family or other people who can help make these payments,” he noted. Those borrowers will be affected by the pandemic in ways that others will not be affected. He said.

Read on for more Here.

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