The Supreme Court agreed on Thursday to take up an appeal of the legal challenge to Joe Biden’s massive student debt forgiveness giveaway funded by U.S. taxpayers on an expedited basis. Oral arguments before the high court will be held in February, with a final ruling to follow that will provide a final legal resolution of the controversial program.
In the meantime, the program that would cost the public at least $400 billion will remain on hold pursuant to the lower court rulings that found the program was implemented without legal authority. Some experts have estimated that the final cost of the program could run to more than $1 trillion if it goes forward.
The Supreme Court agrees to decide by end of June whether the Biden administration can cancel student-loan debt for millions of Americans https://t.co/UCBT5ktB16
— Ron Coleman (@RonColeman) December 1, 2022
The Biden administration petitioned the Supreme Court to hear its appeal from an order by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis affirming a district court order that declared the program to be invalid.
The order issued by the high court on Thursday was unsigned and did not include any detailed opinions about the case. While the order declined to set aside the appeals court order on a preliminary basis, it did agree to set the case for quicker-than-normal scheduling.
Biden announced the program in August, just in time for maximum public relations impact before the November midterm elections.
The administration claimed to have legal authority to wipe away up to $20,000 in student debt per borrower based on the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act of 2003. That law was passed in the aftermath of September 11 and in part grants the president the power to make some changes to student loan programs during times of “national emergency.”
Nebraska led a group of six states that challenged the forgiveness program in a Missouri federal district court. After the district court dismissed the case, the states took the case to the 8th Circuit appeals court, which decided in their favor and ordered the forgiveness program to be dissolved.
The Biden administration sought the appeal to the Supreme Court based on its argument that the HEROES Act gives the president the power to eliminate debt because of its claim that the COVID-19 pandemic qualifies under the law as a continuing “national emergency.”
The states responded to the application by arguing that the White House was using the pandemic as nothing more than a pretext to “mask Biden’s true goal of fulfilling his campaign promise to eliminate student-loan debt.”