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Supreme Court lifts second challenge to Biden student loan relief


US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the student loan forgiveness program from an auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, October 17, 2022.

Leah Millis | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear arguments in a second case challenging the legality of the Biden administration’s ambitious student loan relief package.

The case, originally filed in Texas, will be argued in February in the Supreme Court with the first case accepted by the court.

The Biden administration had asked the Supreme Court to hear both cases if it did not agree to overturn injunctions issued by two separate federal appeals courts last month that prevented the program from going into effect. student loan relief.

The administration said President Joe Biden’s plan could benefit more than 40 million borrowers by canceling up to $20,000 in debt. It would cancel hundreds of billions of dollars of federal debt owed by borrowers.

The Supreme Court, when it accepted the first case on December 1, refused to lift the orders preventing the program from taking and processing applications.

The Department of Education extended a loan repayment break after the appeals courts issued the nationwide injunctions. This pause will continue until June, or until the Supreme Court rules on the legality of the program.

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In the case the Supreme Court accepted on Monday, two plaintiffs, Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor, sued the U.S. District Court in Texas’ Education Department, claiming the administration improperly implemented the education plan. debt relief without informing the public or providing an opportunity to comment. above.

Brown and Taylor both have student loans.

Brown “is not eligible for relief under the plan because its loans are held by business entities rather than the [Education] department,” Justice Department Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in her application to the Supreme Court asking it to lift an injunction.

“Taylor is eligible for $10,000 in relief, but not $20,000 because he did not receive a Pell Grant,” Prelogar wrote.

The federal judge hearing the case rejected the claim that the Department of Education was required to have a notice and comment period before adopting the plan. But the judge ruled that the scheme exceeded the statutory authority of the Education Secretary and therefore prevented the plan from taking effect.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the Justice Department’s request to lift that injunction because it appealed the judge’s order.

In the first case the Supreme Court has accepted for oral argument, six Republican-led states challenged the debt relief package, saying it would threaten their future tax revenues. They also argued that the plan circumvented the authority of Congress.

In that case, a federal district judge in Missouri denied the states’ request to issue an injunction against the program, finding that neither state had legal standing to sue. But the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals later issued a nationwide injunction against the plan pending the outcome of an appeal of that lower court ruling.

The case the Supreme Court accepted on Monday is Department of Education, et al., v. Myra Brown, et al, File Number 22A489.

The first court-accepted case challenging the debt relief program is Biden v. Nebraska, file number 22-506.

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