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Supreme Court Doubtful of Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness Plan

March 1, 2023 | By Kali Girl

On Tuesday, the Biden administration’s proposal to forgive student loans of approximately 40 million Americans was met with skepticism by the Supreme Court. According to the Wall Street Journal, conservative justices expressed their disbelief at the notion that a federal law allowing the education secretary to provide financial relief to borrowers during an emergency could potentially lead to erasing $430 billion from the Treasury’s accounts.

Justice Samuel Alito said, the administration apparently believes that when it comes to handing out benefits, “a trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there, doesn’t really make much difference to Congress,” adding that hardly seemed “very sensible.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch questioned whether Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was outside his area of expertise in putting forth a law with such a massive economic impact. “I understand the secretary has considerable expertise when it comes to educational affairs, but in terms of macroeconomic policy, do we normally assume that every cabinet secretary—learned as they are—has that kind of knowledge?”

Liberal justices expressed their stance stating that when Congress permitted the education secretary to offer relief during national emergencies, that authorization was a provision that would clearly include debt cancellation as a part of the equation.

The Biden administration contented that the issue shouldn’t have been presented before the court at all because the six-Republican -led states arguing the case weren’t adversely affected by the debt-relief program. Therefore, lacks a legal position to sue.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said millions of students would benefit from the program, adding, “Many of them don’t have assets sufficient to bail them out after the pandemic.” Further addressing those who oppose the proposal, she added, “And what you’re saying is now we’re going to give judges the right to decide how much aid to give them,” rather than the secretary of education.”

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said that principle, rather than encouraging the court to strike down the program, required the justices to sit the dispute out.

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