WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Millions of Americans were blocked, again, from receiving up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness Thursday, after a federal judge in Texas ruled the Biden administration’s relief effort was unlawful.
The judge, appointed by former President Donald Trump, said the president can not order the Department of Education cancel federal student loan debt, arguing Biden cannot bypass Congress to forgive debt.
The White House claims the president did not need Congressional approval due to a provision in the HEROES Act.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Department of Justice has appealed the ruling, the latest legal disagreement from the Biden administration in a string of court cases aimed at stopping widespread loan forgiveness.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret, also a Trump appointee, already has declined two requests to challenge the Biden forgiveness plan.
The Department of Education responded with a message online where 26 million Americans already submitted information for forgiveness, saying it stopped accepting applications for relief.
Alan Morrison, a lawyer and professor at George Washington University’s School of Law, told DC News Now he believes there is legal precedent for Biden to give loan forgiveness.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that, with very limited examples for cases involving establishment of religion, that taxpayers do not have the legal right, called ‘standing,’ to go to court and ask a court to adjudicate whether the government was legally entitled to do what it did. And that’s the fundamental problem with all of these cases is they’re all trying to complain about the government spending too much money,” Morrison said.
American University’s Jennifer Steele, a professor at the School of Education, said “there is a lot of gray area in how the courts are interpreting” who has standing to file a complaint. If battles in the courts continue into the new year, Steele said she guesses “that the Biden administration will extend the pause on student loan repayments,” which are set to resume in January.