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Supreme Court takes on second Biden student loan forgiveness case

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a second bid to revive President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which will be heard in February alongside a case the justices have already agreed to hear.

In both cases, lower courts blocked the plan, meaning the Supreme Court will have the final say on whether it takes effect.

The case the court said on Monday it would take up involves two student loan holders, Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor, who claimed the administration failed to follow correct procedure in announcing the plan. A Texas federal judge struck it down nationwide, prompting the administration to turn to the Supreme Court.

In a brief order, the High Court said it would assess both whether Brown and Taylor had standing to bring their action and, if they did, whether the plan was legal.

In the other case, the court said Dec. 1 that it would hear an appeal from the administration involving a challenge brought by six states.

A major hurdle facing those who challenge the program is that they had to prove that they had standing to sue by showing how the program had harmed them. If the Supreme Court were to find that states or individuals have standing and then address the legal issue of whether Biden had the power to cancel the loans, the administration would most likely face an uphill battle, the conservative majority of the court being skeptical of general claims of federal power.

The program, which allows eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt, has been on hold since October. The administration has since closed the application process.

Under another presidential decree related to the pandemic, borrowers currently do not have to make payments.

Challengers say the administration’s plan — announced by Biden in August and originally slated to take effect in the fall — violates the Constitution and federal law, in part because it bypasses Congress, which they say , has the power to create laws relating to the cancellation of student loans.

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