Wisconsin legal group petitions U.S. Supreme Court to block Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness plan

LEGAL

Update:U.S. Supreme Court rejects Wisconsin lawsuit challenging Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

A Wisconsin conservative law firm asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to temporarily block President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan just days before debt cancellation may begin.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed the emergency appeal on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association, which argues Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt is illegal executive overreach.

“What Constitutional power does Biden have to take John Q. Public’s money and pay Jane Q. Public’s school loans?” Brown County Taxpayers Association President Rich Heidel said in a statement. “Why not her mortgage, why not her car loan? How did the college-educated caste become the lucky ones? When and how does this stop? This nonsense not only defies the US Constitution — it defies common sense!”

Heidel’s argument received little traction in the lower courts. U.S. District Judge William C. Griesbach, who was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush, ruled earlier this month that the taxpayers association doesn’t have “standing” before the court, or the grounds to sue. The appeals court also dismissed the group’s request to temporarily pause the program from taking effect.

The Biden administration is facing several legal challenges relating to the program but this is the first to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Student loan debt forgiveness could begin Sunday

The U.S. Education Department has said in court filings that the soonest it may forgive student debt is Sunday.

The emergency request to keep the plan on hold while the group’s legal challenge goes forward was filed to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has jurisdiction over the lower court that ruled on the case.

The case arrived on the court’s “shadow docket,” which is typically used for ruling on procedural and scheduling matters. But the shadow docket has taken on a larger role in the court’s work in recent years, allowing the court to make decisions quickly and without the traditional written briefs, oral arguments and signed opinions.

A decision could be made in a matter of days.

Biden enacted the debt relief plan under the HEROES Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11 attacks and gives the administration authority to forgive student loan debt in association with military operations or national emergencies.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty removed race argument to U.S. Supreme Court

The conservative group also previously argued that Biden’s plan has an “improper racial motive” and violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws because the White House has said the debt cancellation will help narrow the racial wealth gap and advance racial equity. WILL removed the race argument from its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The application for borrowers to apply for one-time loan forgiveness officially opened on Monday and is available at https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application. More than 12 million people have already applied.

Borrowers have until Dec. 31, 2023, to apply, but the administration has recommended people apply by Nov. 15 of this year to have the form processed before the pause on federal student loan payments is lifted in January.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin group asks Supreme Court to block Biden’s loan forgiveness

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