The Supreme Court is preparing to hear another challenge to President Joe Biden’s student loan cancellation plan, marking the second time the high court’s justices have agreed to hear arguments about the plan.
The most recent case comes from Texas, where two student loan borrowers, Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education arguing that the debt relief package was improperly rolled out because there was no “notice-and-comment” period where individuals could weigh in on the proposal. Notably, Brown wasn’t eligible for relief under the plan because it would only cover government-issued student loans while hers were privately-issued. Taylor would have been eligible but not for the full $20,000 the Biden Administration’s plan would have offered.
The federal judge who originally heard the case split the baby, ruling that it was OK that there was no notice-and-comment period but that the Education Department had nonetheless exceeded its authority, ultimately putting a stop to the program before any student debt could be forgiven.
While the program is in legal limbo, President Biden has put a workaround in place, extending the current pandemic-era moratorium on federal student loan payments through next June. Since it was due to expire at the end of this year, borrowers have another six months’ reprieve before their payments restart, assuming the administration doesn’t notch a legal win and save the program from a demise before the Supreme Court.
Conservative groups that oppose student loan forgiveness have taken a novel approach to challenging the program by enlisting individual students who don’t qualify for student loan forgiveness to serve as proxies for their legal arguments. A group called the Job Creators Network Foundation is bankrolling Brown and Taylor’s challenge to the program.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court in both cases are slated for February 2023.