The fate of the Biden administration’s student loan debt forgiveness plan rests on oral arguments that the Supreme Court will hear today.
Given the court’s 6-3 conservative majority, many legal experts predict a tough road ahead for the program, as the conservative SCOTUS has reined in Biden’s executive power multiple times already.
Remember, there are two legal challenges to debt cancellation:
- One from six Republican-led states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina)
- Another from two Texas borrowers backed by a conservative advocacy group
Before the Supreme Court can issue any ruling on the Biden administration’s constitutional authority to cancel debt, it must first decide if these challengers have standing to sue (meaning if any of them are specifically harmed by debt cancellation).
The arguments bring together a string of issues:
- An ambitious program aimed at fulfilling a campaign promise for Biden’s political base.
- Heightened suspicion by the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority about the ability of federal agencies to act without specific congressional authorization.
- The power of Republican-led states to use the judiciary to stop a president’s priorities before they even take effect.
The Biden administration has said that whatever the court decides, the student loan payment pause that’s been in place for almost three years will end 60 days after the case is resolved, or at the end of August, whichever comes first.
The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling before the court’s term ends in late June.
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