Thursday, a federal court in Missouri and Justice Amy Coney Barrett both dismissed arguments to President Biden’s student loan relief schemes, which may cost the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars.
The judge of the Federal District Court in St. Louis, Henry E. Autrey, rejected the more notable of the two challenges, one filed by six states headed by Republicans. The lawsuit said that Mr. Biden exceeded his power under a federal legislation passed in 2003 that permits the education secretary to change student financial aid programmes “in conjunction with a war or other military action or national emergency.”
The idea forgives $10,000 in debt for people earning less than $125,000 per year or $250,000 per family, and $20,000 for recipients of Pell grants for low-income families. The impartial Congressional Budget Office assessed the plan’s price tag at $400 billion last month, and the Education Department followed with a similar estimate a few days later of $379 billion over the program’s lifetime.
The action was filed by the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina. Judge Autrey, who was chosen by President George W. Bush, did not decide on the broader issue. Instead, he said that the states had not sustained injuries that gave them the right to sue.
“Although plaintiffs submit substantial and serious issues to the debt relief scheme,” the court said, “the existing plaintiffs are unable to go forward with the resolution of these problems.”
The states announced their intent to appeal.
The states’ lawsuit was considered as the greatest danger to Mr. Biden’s proposal, and Judge Autrey’s decision permitted the government to begin discharging debts as early as Sunday. Since the application platform went live late last week, more than 12 million individuals have requested debt elimination.
Other legal challenges persist, including a lawsuit supported by the Job Creators Network, an association of company owners with a conservative viewpoint. On Tuesday, a federal court in Fort Worth is expected to hold a hearing over their request for an injunction.
In a second event on Thursday, Wisconsin taxpayers’ association’s independent appeal to the debt relief scheme was denied by Justice Barrett.
As is the court’s usual when dealing on emergency petitions, Justice Barrett dismissed the association’s case without remark. She proceeded alone, without forwarding the case to the whole court, and without requesting a response from the government. Both of these actions indicated that the application lacked a sound legal foundation.
the application because it seemed that the plaintiff, Brown County Taxpayers Association, lacked standing.
Judge William C. Griesbach of the Federal District Court in Green Bay, Wisconsin, dismissed the association’s complaint without examining the legality of Mr. Biden’s actions. Instead, Mr. Bush’s appointee, Judge Griesbach, decided that the group had failed to demonstrate its standing to suit.
The court has created a small exemption for some religious concerns, but Judge Griesbach acknowledged that even this exception “has been heavily criticised.”
He denied the group’s desire to enable a challenge to the student loan scheme by expanding the exemption. He wrote, “This court has no jurisdiction to act in this manner.”
Even if the challenger had standing, Judge Griesbach questioned whether an order suspending the programme would be necessary. If the government behaved illegally, he said, those who get debt relief might be held accountable for erased debts.
A future government may not be bound by the Biden administration’s scheme and may attempt to recover the allegedly forgiven debts, the court ruled. Before putting excessive reliance on the anticipated advantages, Judge Griesbach advised, “anyone intending to take advantage of the scheme” to consider this risk.
In Chicago, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit declined to intervene in an unsigned ruling with no stated reasons. This circuit is supervised by Justice Barrett, and emergency petitions regarding its judgements are sent to her in the first instance.
The group contended in its application that the amounts involved required a relaxation of the standing criteria. The association’s attorneys said, “We are seeing a colossal growth in the national debt caused by a blatant disregard for constitutional spending limits.”
“The premise that a president may unilaterally absolve debt owing to the U.S. Treasury by executive fiat, and that no one has standing to oppose him, challenges the fundamental underpinnings of a constitutional republic,” they said.