WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t have far to look if it wants a personal take on the “crushing weight” of student debt that underlies the Biden administration’s college loan forgiveness plan.

Justice Clarence Thomas was in his mid-40s and in his third year on the nation’s highest court when he paid off the last of his debt from his time at Yale Law School.

Thomas, the court’s longest-serving justice and staunchest conservative, has been skeptical of other Biden administration initiatives. When the Supreme Court hears arguments regarding Tuesday, President Joe Biden’s debt relief plan This would erase student loans up to $20,000 worth Thomas is not likely to be a vote in the administration’s favor.

But the justices’ own experiences can be relevant in how they approach a case, and alone among them, Thomas He has written extensively about how student loans helped him in his financial troubles.

Even a fellow student at law school suggested it! Thomas After graduating, declare bankruptcy “to get out from under the crushing weight of all my student loans,” In his bestseller 2007 memoir, the justice wrote: “My Grandfather’s Son.” It was rejected.

It’s not clear that any of the other justices borrowed money to attend college or law school or have done so for their children’s educations. Some justices were raised in relative wealth. Others reported they had scholarships to pay their way to some of the country’s most expensive private institutions.

Of the seven justices on the court who are parents, four have signaled through their investments that they don’t want their own children to be saddled with onerous college debt, and have piled money into tax-free college savings accounts that might limit any need for loans.

Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Neil Gorsuch, have the largest amounts, $600,000 to $300,000 respectively. According to the annual disclosures the justices filed in 2022. Two children are each for Roberts and Gorsuch.

Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji brown Jackson have seven children each. They also invest money in college savings accounts. There, any growth or earnings are tax-free if they’re used to fund education.

According to a court spokesperson, none of the justices will comment on this story.

Thomas wrote vividly about his past money woes in his up-from-poverty story, recounting how a bank once foreclosed on one of his loans because repayment and delinquency notices were sent to his grandparents’ house in Savannah, Georgia, instead of Thomas’ home at the time in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Thomas Only John Danforth, his mentor and former Missouri attorney general, was able for him to obtain another loan to pay off the bank.

Thomas He noted that he had signed up at Yale for the tuition postponement program, in which students paid their loans jointly according to financial capability. The highest-earning paying ones get the least.

The time was Thomas’ first wife, Kathy, was pregnant. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I signed on the dotted line, and spent the next two decades paying off the money I borrowed during my last two years at Yale,” Thomas wrote.

He was nominated for federal court in 1989. Thomas A news story at the time stated that there was $10,000 of student loan debt. Biden’s administration picked this number to represent the debt relief that most borrowers would receive under the plan.

Personal experience can shape the justices’ questions in the courtroom and affect their private conversations about a case, even if it doesn’t figure in the outcome.

“It is helpful to have people with life experiences that are varied just because it enriches the conversation,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor has said. Sotomayor, like ThomasShe grew up in poverty. According to her, she received a Princeton full scholarship as an undergraduate and continued on to Yale law school. Thomas did.

People should not be able to avoid making difficult decisions. Thomas faced is a key part of the administration’s argument for loan forgiveness. The administration says Without additional support, many borrowers may fall behind in their payments after a three-year hold was lifted from the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic.

Federal loans of $10,000 would be voided for individuals earning less that $125,000, and for families with incomes below $250,000 according to a plan announced August. Beneficiaries of federal loans Pell GrantsPeople with less financial resources would be eligible to get $10,000 more debt forgiveness.

The White House claims that 26 million Americans have submitted applications and that 16 million were approved for aid. It is projected to cost $400 billion in the three years ahead.

It is possible that the legal dispute could hinge on several aspects, including the lawful standing of the Republican-led States and Individuals suing over this plan to proceed to Court and the federal authority to allow for such a broad loan forgiveness program.

Nebraska and the other states contesting this program claim that they are far from being behind. However, twenty million borrowers could get a loan. “windfall” Nebraska Attorney General Michael Hilgers stated in The That Their entire Student Debt Would Be Eliminated states’ main Supreme Court brief.

It may come out on Tuesday which arguments are most popular with the court.

She was the Harvard Law School’s dean. Justice Elena Kagan voiced concern at the high costs of law school especially for those who are interested in lower-paying positions.

Kagan established a program If students agreed to five-year service in the public sectors, they would be able to afford their final year of tuition. Harvard grants students who are interested in public service, even though the program is no longer available.

The program was in its infancy at the time. Kagan said she wanted students so they can go work anywhere “can make the biggest difference, but that isn’t the case now.” Instead she stated: “They often go to work where they don’t want to work because of the debt burden.”