Supreme Court asked to block Biden student debt relief program

Supreme Court nominee and US Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 21, 2020.

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Wednesday was asked to block the Biden administration’s student loan debt relief program, which is set to take effect this weekend.

The Brown County Taxpayers Association, a Wisconsin group, directed the emergency application to delay implementation of the debt relief plan to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is responsible for handling such requests from the 7th federal appeals court circuit, which contains that state.

The emergency filing from the association asks that President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of borrowers be suspended while its lawsuit unfolds. The Biden administration could start processing borrowers’ requests for student loan forgiveness as soon as this Sunday.

The US Department of Education opened its application for student loan forgiveness in a beta test on Friday, and more than 8 million people submitted requests for relief over that weekend. The application officially launched on Monday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Legal challenges against student loan forgiveness

The legal challenges that have been brought against the president’s plan continue to mount.

Six Republican-led states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina — are trying to block Biden’s plan, arguing that the president doesn’t have the power to issue nationwide debt relief without Congress. They’re also claiming that the policy would harm private companies that service some federal student loans by reducing their business.

A federal judge earlier this month dismissed The Brown County Taxpayers Association’s lawsuit against the Biden administration, finding it didn’t have standing to bring its challenge.

The main obstacle for those hoping to foil the president’s action is finding a plaintiff who can prove they’ve been harmed by the policy. “Such injury is needed to establish what courts call ‘standing,'” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor .

Tribe said he isn’t convinced that any of the current lawsuits filed have successfully done that.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Jorge Oliveira

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