Setback for Biden: Supreme Court strikes down student loan write-off

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President Joe Biden’s agenda suffered an embarrassment on Friday, as the U.S. Supreme Court halted the implementation of his plan to cancel up to $20,000 of student debt owed by tens of millions of young American voters.

The court’s decision, on a vote of 6-3, comes as Biden gears up for his reelection campaign, thwarting one of his major priorities.

The debt forgiveness plan, announced by Biden in August, would have canceled $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrows making less than $125,000 per year or households with an income below $250,000. In addition, Pell Grant recipients, who often have greater financial stress, would have been eligible for an another $10,000 in debt relief, bringing the total to $20,000.

The plan encompassed borrowers with loans disbursed before last July 1, making around 43 million individuals eligible for debt forgiveness. According to the White House, 20 million would have their entire college debt erased.

Some 26 million Americans have applied for debt relief, and 16 million had their applications approved.

Biden used the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act — HEROES Act — as his guide for the policy, which the Office of Management and Budget said would cost the taxpayers $400 billion over the next 30 years.

The court said today that the HEROES Act does not authorize the Biden debt forgiveness plan. The HEROES Act was enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the New York Trade Center and Pentagon. The law was aimed at protecting service members financially during their deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, relieving them of their student loan debt.

The Supreme Court heard two challenges to the Biden program. One involved six states that sued the administration: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina. The court first had to determine that the states had standing. In this case, the court determined that at least Missouri had standing.

Then, onward to the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The authority to ‘modify’ statutes and regulations allows the Secretary to make modest adjustments and additions to existing regulations, not transform them.”

The “modifications” by Biden to the loan program “created a novel and fundamentally different loan forgiveness program” and “expanded forgiveness to nearly every borrower in the country,” Roberts said.

The three justices who dissented from the majority opinion were Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagen, and Katanji Brown Jackson. Those three routinely stick together on most decisions as a caucus.

The other challenge came from two students, Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor, who raised concerns regarding the Biden administration’s failure to follow the proper process in enacting the plan.

In that case, the justices found that the students did not have standing. However, the decision on the case brought by the states, provides the answer as well for the students’ case, as it invalidates the Biden loan forgiveness program.

Initially, a lower court had dismissed the states’ lawsuit, ruling that they lacked standing to challenge the program since they were not directly harmed by it.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Good.

    I have to pay my loans, even the ones I shouldn’t have taken.

    Making a stupid decision does not remove responsibility for incurred debts.

  2. The supremes stopped a very bad thing from happening. Everybody should understand these loans and borrowers are the future leaders. It is clear they know nothing of math finance, and schooling. We all need to be careful who we give power to.

  3. Good! Now take your liberal arts degrees and get a job and start paying back your loans!

    Welcome to adulthood and society!

  4. No different than the Dobb’s decision or affirmative action for public universities. SCOTUS has rightly determined if the issue is not spelled out in the US Constitution or in Federal legislation the issue defaults to the States. There was no Federal legislation that codified abortion so the Roe vs. Wade decision was correctly tossed back to the States, and just as State legislatures can not interfere with Federal elections (North Carolina) the Executive branch can forgive foreign debt, but can’t forgive college debt as it is not spelled out in the Constitution, or in Federal legislation.

    • I think the court saw the ability to forgive debt as needing to come via legislation from the Legislative Branch and not in the power of the Executive Branch to carry out; at least that’s how I read the opinion from Roberts.

      • I agree, I do not believe the Executive branch has tried to forgive foreign debt, or been challenged. Both the former Soviet Union and Great Britain borrowed a lot of money in WWII.

    • Who are you, and what have you done with the kneejerk pro-establishment, pro-corporate, pro-big-government Frank Rast that we have come to know and (not) love?

    • But it’s completely constitutional for the U.S. government to underwrite student debt? What, under the “general welfare clause”? All student who don’t pay their loans back should be considered slaveholders of the American taxpayer. That’s why the IRS uses the term “field agents”.

  5. I’m fine with giving them a way to work off their debt at a faster rate than normal, but not excusing it.

  6. A few ways to analyze this decision:

    1. It will hurt Joe Biden’s campaign because the 20 to 35 year olds won’t be motivated to support him with a thank you vote.
    .
    2. It will help Joe Biden because he will blame the outcome on Trump’s court.
    .
    3. No change because most lendees won’t make payments anyway and loan default doesn’t seem to matter to them.

  7. Obama and Biden keep doing this. They mandate illegal things they know are illegal and won’t stand in court as executive orders, allow several years to pass as they’re challenged in court, lose in court, then demagogue about how horrible our constitutional system is.

  8. Biden aint completely stupid. He can do simple math at least with help.
    43 million eligible recipients of up to $20,000=43million votes
    Yup Kornpop taught him real good math when it comes to using the working class taxpayer as a mule.
    He knows only one way to squeeze more blood outa turnips ….Hire 87,000 IRS agents (with our money) to go knockin on doors to freshen your memory about that cord of wood you and sonny boy cut up and sold to raise a little cash to get him through school.
    Whats another 400 billion if it gets him another shot at destroying whats left of America.

    Last week He doled out Billions to all the native tribes for their votes.

    Millions of illegals who have crossed the border and doled out freebies and cell phones so they can track them down to make sure they get a ballot at the next selection.

    Americans have no clue how much this old fool is spending our money just to get reselected so he can “Finish The Job” of destroying whats left of America.

    I had no clue the Democratic party could allow this crazy stumbling old fool and his alphabet nuts to spend our money like a drunken sailor on votes.

    I would be surprised if he doesnt get the printer fired up and spew out at least a 150 million fresh 100 dollar bills to have his “selection mules” pass out to voters during selection week.

  9. Biden wanted Americans to give him $400 billion to buy votes. The sad thing is … the morons he would be giving the money to will vote for him whether their loans are excused or not. If they are dumb enough to go into debt for a degree in philosophy or equity studies … they will always be dumb enough to vote for him.

  10. These kids need to learn when you borrow money for a loan, only you are responsible for paying it back. Not the frigging government! If you can’t afford it then don’t go…. Go to vocational schools..
    About time the Right Thing was done. No one should be paying anyone’s way. Like I said if it’s too expensive and you can’t see yourself paying back that debt YOU got into, then dump college. Not everyone is college material!

      • I see myself as a really, really good driver, but I can’t afford a Lamborghini. Therefore I should be able to take out a loan for one and then expect that some federal program will come along and make the payments for me when I whine about the expense.

        That is exactly what is going on with college loans. I don’t care one whit if the kid is ‘college material’ or not. If he cannot figure out a way to pay his own bills then he should not get a loan. It is NOT up to the rest of us to pay for college for someone else’s kids.

  11. I read on a different news website the lede which put forth “Conservatives on Court Strike Down Forgiveness: What are Borrowers to do?”.

    1) Borrowers could pay back their loans….pretty basic part of the bargain.
    2) It was not “conservatives” on the Court; it was the Court’s opinion that struck down the debt forgiveness. This was not a plurality decision, it was a clear decision of the Court…with a dissent.
    3) Because I am an old fart and because I paid off my student loans both ahead of time and decades ago, why should I be taxed to help provide a benefit to people who won’t live up to what they agreed?

    This is one of the decisions of the Court that, IMNSHO, isn’t really subject to criticism: it simply requires people to complete the bargain they made.

  12. The only real truth that ever came out of Obama was when They selected Biden for the Primary in 2020 selection.
    He was overheard telling his comrade “Leave it to Joe Biden, He knows how to really f**k s**t up”

  13. The big problem for Brandon with the U.S. Supreme Court is that the majority’s recent decisions are based on law, not on Modern Prog Doctrine. But, no worry! – Brandon’s minions in Congress will keep on trying to indoctrinate, er… I meant educate, anyone and everyone in a prog-woke college or university. And it will be FREE! Whee!!
    See S.1263 – Debt-Free College Act of 2021, and the 2023 College for All Act (Jayapal / Sanders)

    The exploding national debt? Again, no worry! Increased taxes, more IRS agents, and continuing price inflation (devaluation of $) will take care of this wondrous freebee. Writing soon to our dear Congressional representative: “Please vote for any bill that will fund my university tuition. I’m retired, and now have time to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Modern Prog Studies, with a minor in Modern Zimbabwean Economics.”

  14. Communism will be achieved through the banks. You simply pass a law that says non-payment will not only not affect your credit worthiness negatively, but new graduates will be eligible for low interest home and electric car loans regardless of credit worthiness.

  15. One of the best decisions this SCOTUS has handed down. I can’t stand freeloaders and most of all, ones that borrowed money to continue their education, to supposedly make more than the “uneducated” ones and then expect the same “uneducated” ones to pay their bills. This decision is magnificent.

  16. But, ACC/UAA tuition was $300.00 full-time per semester, and 5-day per week room & board, People-Mover trips $1.00 and McDonalds paid $3.50/hr … washing dishes and busing tables at Bavarian Deli in the Sunshine Mall paid more, though. Pell Grant kicked in and I got work related to what i was studying. But, but … . Residency paid $18,000/yr. I wasn’t enticed to borrow because I didn’t need to fortunately. And when everyone advised purchasing our home on fixed-rate thirty year mortgage, we paid half down and finished it off in less than fifteen because we could, so we did. But, medical debt nearly wiped us out psychologically. Thank heaven for the idea of an ACA. Politicians took advantage of its government support, but it is not worthless and folks can demand those scoundrels pay up. If there was some legal recourse to the predatory lending industry in higher education, I’d prefer that be the goal ultimately.

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