Republicans are readying lawsuits to block Biden’s student debt plan

cigaretteman

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Republican state attorneys general and other leading conservatives are quietly exploring a slew of potential lawsuits targeting President Biden’s plan to cancel some student debt — challenges that could limit or invalidate the policy before it takes full effect.

In recent days, a number of GOP attorneys general from states including Arizona, Missouri and Texas have met privately to discuss a strategy that could see multiple cases filed in different courts around the country, according to a person familiar with their thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the confidential talks.

Other influential conservatives — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and allies of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank — are mulling their own options as they ratchet up criticism of Biden’s debt-relief plan, two additional people familiar with the matter said. And a conservative advocacy group founded by a major Trump donor said it would file a lawsuit against the policy.



“The conservative public interest law firms in our network are exploring filing lawsuits against this. They are doing background legal research, trying to find out who might be the most suitable clients for them,” John Malcolm, director of the Meese Center at the Heritage Foundation, said in an interview. “They have to find a client with the standing and the gumption to take on a lawsuit. There are several groups in our network who are exploring that right now.”
How President Biden decided to go big on student loan forgiveness
All of the sources cautioned that no decisions have been made — and as of Thursday morning, no lawsuits appeared to have been filed. But a legal battle could carry stark financial consequences for millions of student borrowers, who rejoiced last week after Democrats delivered on a long-standing promise to erase some of their debt.

Why Biden acted on student loan forgiveness
3:30









After six repayment extensions, pressure from Congress and activists, the White House acts on federal student loans. (Video: Michael Cadenhead/The Washington Post)
The possible litigation also raises the prospect of a broader, precedent-setting courtroom tussle over the scope of the president’s economic authority. Such a lawsuit could reach the Supreme Court, thrusting it back into the spotlight after it infuriated Democrats by stripping abortion protections and limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to respond to climate change.







Under Biden’s plan, announced last week, the government is set to forgive up to $10,000 in federal college debt — or $20,000 if borrowers also received Pell Grants, which typically go to lower-income students. While the plan is less generous than some in the Democratic Party initially sought, it still marks a major financial benefit for many debtors — some of whom expressed horror that they could lose the help before it even arrives.
“That would be terrible,” said Michael Loomus, 31, who works as a call center supervisor in Ohio, referring to the prospect of the courts blocking Biden’s plan. Loomus has struggled to pay down his $11,400 in student loans since dropping out of the University of Toledo, but most of his debt would be wiped away by the president’s plan.
“It just seems they are continuously trying to keep borrowers in debt,” Loomus added. “I don’t make a lot of money … and before this, it just felt like I’d never pay off my loans.”







The Biden administration has been adamant that its policy is legal. The Justice Department released a 25-page memo last week justifying debt cancellation as “appropriate” under a 2003 law giving the executive branch broad authority to overhaul student loan programs. That law was passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and gave the president the authority to cancel student debt in connection with national emergencies — which the White House says includes the ongoing pandemic.
“The legality is very, very strong … The language of the Heroes Act states that in a national emergency the president can take action that includes suspending or canceling debt,” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor close with the Biden administration.
Who qualifies for Biden’s plan to cancel $10,000 in student debt?


 

cigaretteman

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday evening. Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, stressed to reporters last week that Biden was using the same authority that the Trump administration had invoked to extend a pause on student loan payments earlier in the pandemic. “That has not been challenged in court. It has not been found improper by a court. It’s the same statute that the previous administration used and that we’ve used, that we are now using for this action,” Ramamurti said.







He added: “We believe we’re on strong legal ground.”
Spokespeople for the Arizona, Missouri and Texas attorneys generals did not respond to requests for comment. The most recent talks among GOP attorneys general and their staff occurred Wednesday, the person familiar with the matter said.
Conservatives have called the debt forgiveness plan fiscally irresponsible and unfair to the millions of Americans who never attended college or already paid off their education loans. Republicans have also said the plan is illegal because it wrests spending powers given to Congress, arguing that the 2003 law was never intended to give the executive branch such unilateral, broad authority.

Cruz, who ran for president in 2020, has emerged as one of the leading GOP critics of the plan but acknowledged in a radio interview released Wednesday that it remains unclear who will have legal “standing” — or cause to challenge the decision — in court. A spokesman for Cruz declined to comment, referring a reporter to Cruz’s comments in that interview.






Cruz said that the courts are unlikely to deem an average taxpayer as qualified to bring a lawsuit. It may be possible to find a plaintiff who earned slightly more than the amount necessary to qualify for debt forgiveness, according to the senator, but it is “not at all clear a court would buy that argument.”
And Cruz added a lawsuit could be filed by a current student who would argue that the debt forgiveness plan will lead colleges to raise tuition, unfairly subjecting students to higher fees.

“The difficulty here is finding a plaintiff who the courts will conclude has standing,” Cruz said. “That may prove a real challenge.”
Still, conservatives have raced to find a plaintiff. The president of the Job Creators Network — founded by Bernie Marcus, a GOP donor who started Home Depot — said Wednesday that it is already building a legal team and working with outside advisers on preparing a lawsuit.


“We’re taking this on … we’re in the middle of lining up our plaintiffs,” Alfredo Ortiz, CEO of the Jobs Creator Network, told Fox News recently. “As soon as they drop all the specifics on this, we’ll be taking it to court.”
Separately, some lawmakers have eyed their own intervention in such a case. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told The Washington Post he is exploring options for suing Biden over the policy.

Biden outlines plan for federal student debt relief
3:30


Biden announced $10,000 in relief for student loan borrowers making less than $125,000 annually, and an additional $10,000 for Pell Grant recipients. (Video: Michael Cadenhead/The Washington Post)
Some independent legal experts say a legal challenge could prove successful. Jed Handelsman Shugerman, a professor at Fordham Law School, said the Justice Department memo justifying the policy because of the coronavirus did not fit either the nature of the broad action or the way the White House has defended it. Introducing the plan, Biden spoke primarily of fixing a broken system of higher education and put less emphasis on offering emergency relief due to the pandemic.



Shugerman stressed that he supports student debt cancellation and wants the administration to change its legal argument so it does not get struck down by the Supreme Court.
Student loan forgiveness application coming in October, White House says
“If they keep going with this argument and this interpretation of the statute, it is likely they will lose 6 to 3, and it’s possible they could lose by more than 6 to 3,” Shugerman said. Without a shift in administration strategy, Shugerman said, “I foresee this good policy being rightly struck down by the courts on legal terms.”
Adam Minsky, a Boston lawyer who specializes in student debt issues, said it is hard to predict exactly where the Supreme Court would come down on the matter but that the main legal question is likely to be whether any plaintiff has standing to sue. Litigation could result in an emergency injunction halting the policy just as it goes into effect, he said, creating chaos for tens of millions of borrowers — possibly right before the midterm elections this fall.
“That would be a mess,” Minsky said. “There may be enough justices who say they went too far.”
 

Rifler

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That is what's so perfect about this,.. It likely won't hold up, but final decision won't happen until after the mid-terms,... D's waving checks that the R's don't want to cash will make for great fun.
 

MitchLL

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Dec 26, 2018
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States might take a different POV if indeed, this loan forgiveness is taxable.

Or...it is just another Red State unity blanket "We'll fight anything/everything coming from the WH".
 
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Hoosierhawkeye

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I wonder why Biden didn't ask Congress to do this. Dems have the House, Senate, and White House. It could be passed via reconciliation, right?!

I think you can only use the reconciliation thing like once fiscal year or something like that. I think they might be out of it.

That and Machin probably wouldn't support it.

I don't think he could pass it via congress.
 
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Rifler

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Reconciliation was used for the recent "Inflation Reduction Act", so I think we're done with that game...
 

Tom Paris

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Republicans - let's save billionaires millions and millions of dollars. Also Republicans - let's force college kids, and new workers, to pay tens of thousands of dollars at 7-8% interest for 20-30 years.

Republicans do NOTHING to help alleviate financial strains on the middle class. They are against it but lie to our faces telling us they are the party of the working people. Bullshit they are.
 

Rifler

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Republicans - let's save billionaires millions and millions of dollars. Also Republicans - let's force college kids, and new workers, to pay tens of thousands of dollars at 7-8% interest for 20-30 years. Republicans do NOTHING to help alleviate financial strains on the middle class. They are against it but lie to our faces telling us they are the party of the working people. Bullshit they are.

You should take up day drinking,.. you're a natural.
 
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MitchLL

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This will backfire on the Rs. 55-60% support foregiveness. They're playing with fire trying to block this
Yep...this opposition to loan forgiveness could backfire with the voting public just like their push for anti abortion rulings has.

We could be looking at quite the phenomenon in November...a wave that furthers the majority for the Party controlling the WH.
 

brownd7949hawks

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Republicans - let's save billionaires millions and millions of dollars. Also Republicans - let's force college kids, and new workers, to pay tens of thousands of dollars at 7-8% interest for 20-30 years.

Republicans do NOTHING to help alleviate financial strains on the middle class. They are against it but lie to our faces telling us they are the party of the working people. Bullshit they are.
Link to anyone being forced to take a student loan at 7-8% interest for 20-30 years?

It’s a one time vote buying scheme. Look at the posts in here. Does nothing to actually address the problem.

Never mind that even Nancy Pelosi said a president doesn’t have the power to do it.
 

MepoDawg#

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Link to anyone being forced to take a student loan at 7-8% interest for 20-30 years?

It’s a one time vote buying scheme. Look at the posts in here. Does nothing to actually address the problem.

Never mind that even Nancy Pelosi said a president doesn’t have the power to do it.
It’s an argument nobody is going to win. Yes, no one is forced to take out student loans, however the cost of education is out of control. Until the government fixes the problem they created it’ll be a vicious blame game and trying to buy votes only to kick the can down the street further.
 

WDSMHAWK

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Damn taking away debt relief that a majority of Americans support. Republicans really must think their voter suppression laws will save them in '22 & '24.
 
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Rifler

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Damn taking away debt relief that a majority of Americans support. Republicans really must think their voter suppression laws will save them in '22 & '24.

No, some things are just correct,.. It's like telling your kids that they can't eat their Trick or Treat candy for breakfast,.. Responsibility isn't a popularity contest.
 

Huey Grey

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Latest poll has 51% supporting Biden's move while 39% oppose it. The numbers just aren't there for the Rs. They need to get off this issue in a hurry. It's a loser for them.
 
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Huey Grey

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Takes time,.. arguments have to be made, Supremes need to be booked,..serious shit.
Some Trump appointed judge could have blocked this yesterday. Rs had a huge headups to prepare a challenge. But they didn't. It's why they're trying to figure out their next move. They're not sure what to do.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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If it was that easy to dismiss, Rs would have done it already.
It’s unconstitutional
 

Rifler

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Some Trump appointed judge could have blocked this yesterday. Rs had a huge headups to prepare a challenge. But they didn't. It's why they're trying to figure out their next move. They're not sure what to do.

Patience grasshopper,.. patience.
 

Huey Grey

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It’s unconstitutional
The money has already been approved by Congress. The EO simply directs them not to collect against borrowers. On its face it appears totally constitutional.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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The money has already been approved by Congress. The EO simply directs them not to collect against borrowers. On its face it appears totally constitutional.
That expense wasn’t approved by congress…no need to make shit up.
 

Huey Grey

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That expense wasn’t approved by congress…no need to make shit up.
Congress already approved of this spending when they approved of the budget. It's spent money with or without the EO. Further if it was as easy as your generic link, it would have been blocked by now. Rs have to present some other legal theory beyond your link.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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Congress already approved of this spending when they approved of the budget. It's spent money with or without the EO. Further if it was as easy as your generic link, it would have been blocked by now. Rs have to present some other legal theory beyond your link.
We’ll see.

You used to think diverting money by bullshit emergency EO’s was bad. What changed?


It'll be interesting watching Roberts contort himself to explain why Trump should be able to do this.
 

Huey Grey

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We’ll see.

You used to think diverting money by bullshit emergency EO’s was bad. What changed?
SCOTUS agreed with Trump that he could redirect funds. You're only proving my point that this isn't an unconstitutional slam dunk.
 

Rifler

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Congress already approved of this spending when they approved of the budget. It's spent money with or without the EO. Further if it was as easy as your generic link, it would have been blocked by now. Rs have to present some other legal theory beyond your link.

No,.. the current budget has no funding for paying off the remaining principle on the loans in question...
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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SCOTUS agreed with Trump that he could redirect funds. You're only proving my point that this isn't an unconstitutional slam dunk.
The military money was allocated by congress…Trump diverted it. I think it was wrong and so did you.

You say Biden did the same thing. He didn’t. The $600B he’s using was not allocated by congress. Federal loans…to be paid back…were. Pretty big difference.
 

RNHawk

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Republicans - let's save billionaires millions and millions of dollars. Also Republicans - let's force college kids, and new workers, to pay tens of thousands of dollars at 7-8% interest for 20-30 years.

Republicans do NOTHING to help alleviate financial strains on the middle class. They are against it but lie to our faces telling us they are the party of the working people. Bullshit they are.
How did Republicans force college students to pay thousands of dollars at 7-8 % interest over 20-30 years?
 
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