Saturday, May 25, 2024

Supreme Court Weighs Biden Overreach in $800B Loan-Amnesty Plan

'I was 18 when I signed up for college. I didn’t know it was going to be this big of a burden...'

(Headline USA) The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the legal fight over President Joe Biden’s controversial student-loan amnesty plan, which is projected to cost upward of $800 billion if it were to take effect.

Twenty-six million people have applied and 16 million have been approved to have up to $20,000 in federal student loans transferred from the debtors to taxpayers at large.

The high court was set to hear two challenges to the plan, which has so far been blocked by Republican-appointed judges on lower courts who determined Biden lacked the statutory authority to do what only Congress has the power to do.

Arguments were scheduled to last two hours, but likely will go much longer. The public can listen in on the court’s website.

Red-pilled liberal law professor Jonathan Turley also was offering a live-tweet play-by-play on Twitter.

He noted that while Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar had been effective in making Biden’s case, she faced an uphill battle against several moderate and conservative justices, who remained skeptical that there was any legal justification.

“I’m confident the legal authority to carry that plan is there,” Biden said Monday.

The president, who once doubted his own authority to broadly cancel student debt, first announced the program in August. Legal challenges quickly followed.

Republican-led states and lawmakers in Congress, as well as conservative and libertarian legal watchdogs, are lined up against the plan as a clear violation of Biden’s executive authority.

Democratic-led states and liberal interest groups are backing the Democratic administration in urging the court to allow the plan to take effect.

Without it, they claim that loan defaults would dramatically increase when the pause on loan payments ends no later than this summer due to their irresponsible borrowing and spending during the pandemic, when payments were temporarilty paused.

The administration claimed a 2003 law, commonly known as the HEROES Act, allows the secretary of education to waive or modify the terms of federal student loans in connection with a national emergency. The law was primarily intended to keep service members from being worse off financially while they fought in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nebraska and other states that sued say the plan is not necessary to keep the rate of defaults roughly where it was before the pandemic. The 20 million borrowers who have their entire loans erased would get a “windfall” that will leave them better off than they were before the pandemic, the states say.

Dozens of borrowers came from across the country to camp out near the court on a soggy Monday evening in hopes of getting a seat for the arguments. Among them was Sinyetta Hill, who said that Biden’s plan would erase all but about $500 of the $20,000 or so she has in student loans.

“I was 18 when I signed up for college. I didn’t know it was going to be this big of a burden,” she whined.

“No student should have to deal with this. No person should have to deal with this,” said Hill, 22, who plans to incur even more debt by attending law school after she graduates from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in May.

Biden’s plan could meet a frosty reception in the courtroom. The court’s majority has been skeptical of other Biden overreaching initiatives related to the pandemic, including vaccine mandates and an eviction moratorium.

Those were billed largely as public health measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 but ultimately became means for leftists to justify even more government overreach into the lives of law-abiding citizens.

The loan transfer plan, by contrast, is aimed at countering the economic effects of the pandemic, even though the result is likely to further increase inflation that has plagued the country since the very start of the Biden presidency.

Critics also contend that it will help already privileged individuals who took out loans irresponsibly while punishing those who paid them off or who decided to forgo college altogether due to the cost.

Despite Biden having already publicly declared the pandemic to be over, the national emergency is not expected to end until May 11.

Deflecting from their own policy failures, however, administration said the economic consequences will persist indefinitely.

In addition to the debate over the authority to forgive student debt, the court also will confront whether the states and two individuals whose challenge also is before the justices have the legal right, or standing, to sue.

Parties generally have to show that they would suffer financial harm and benefit from a court ruling in their favor. A federal judge initially found that the states would not be harmed and dismissed their lawsuit before an appellate panel said the case could proceed.

Of the two individuals who sued in Texas, one has student loans that are commercially held and the other is eligible for $10,000 in debt relief, not the $20,000 maximum. They would get nothing if they win their case but argue that they would have to pay more under the Biden plan than they would otherwise.

A decision is expected by late June.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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