The Supreme Court When it hears arguments about President Joe’s legality, the Senate is expected to decide soon the financial fates of nearly 40 million Americans in need of significant student loan relief. Biden’s We will provide relief targeted to student loan borrowers.
The court will hear arguments on Feb. 28 about whether millions of Americans who are eligible for student loan debt forgiveness up to $20,000 should receive that relief or whether they should continue paying their loans.
With With a conservative supermajority consisting of six votes, it is unlikely the court would uphold the broad executive-branch action that a Democratic administration has taken that involves redistribution funds from creditors to debtors. But there may be a way for at least some of the court’s conservatives to preserve the debt relief program while achieving a conservative goal.
The most likely way the program would survive the challenges presented in two cases — Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown — is if the outcome turns on the question of standing; that is, whether the parties suing to challenge the program can prove it harms them, and that they are the relevant party being harmed. The court will decide whether or not the program is legal if it finds that six states and two people suing the administration do not have standing.
“The standing theories that have been thrown at the wall in these cases are wrong, and many of them would have dangerous implications,” Samuel Bray (conservative law professor) and William Baude (liberal lawyer professors) argued in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the case.
Despite their own belief that the administration’s debt relief plan is “unlawful,” Bray and Baude claim that neither the state nor the plaintiffs can prove the program has caused harm to them. And if the court were to grant standing, it would further expand the ability of states to bring lawsuits to force or block executive actions ― something three of the conservative justices opposed in the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPAWhere the state was given by the court “special solicitude” To sue the government for regulation of carbon emissions
Chief Justice John Roberts authored a dissenting opinion to that decision, which was also signed by Justices Clarence Thomas (then-Justice Antonin Scalia) and Samuel Alito. Roberts stated that Roberts had argued against the “special solicitude” States that have been made into standing “a lawyer’s game, rather than a fundamental limitation ensuring that courts function as courts and not intrude on the politically accountable branches.”
The Courts are for the purpose of justice “to decide concrete cases ― not to serve as a convenient forum for policy debates,” Roberts was the second.
These are your concerns “proved prophetic,” Bray and Baude wrote. The number of lawsuits brought by the state attorneys general against federal actions has increased dramatically since then. This is despite the fact that the White House is occupied at all times. Former President Barack Obama’s GOP attorney general was the leader in filing 50 or more suits. Donald Trump’s presidency saw more than 130 lawsuits filed by Democratic lawyers general. Biden is now the subject of more than 50 similar suits from Republicans.
“The states’ more extravagant theories are emblematic of the broader trend where states are taking advantage of vague language in Massachusetts v. EPA, to challenge any federal action with which they disagree,” Bray and Baude wrote. “Unless this Court wishes to sit in constant judgment of every major executive action ― which is not its constitutional role ― it is time to say ‘stop.’”
By rejecting the standing theories offered in the student loan debt cases, Roberts and other conservatives could set forth new limits on states’ “special solicitude” You can either accept it or deny it. While this could prevent the court from deciding on difficult political questions, it will make it much more difficult for liberal lawyers general to sue for enforcement of environmental and civil rights law. That’s something that Fordham Law School Professor Jed Shugerman, who supports student debt relief, warned about in a brief to the court In support of the state arguments to stand.
Such a move would allow Roberts to do what he has done in the past: uphold a Democratic president’s policy priority while advancing his own agenda at the same time.
The Baude, Bray, and a few others have found that the case against eight plaintiffs being allowed to stand is quite straightforward. a brief submitted, among other things by the Biden administration
Biden declared his intention to offer student loan debt relief to some borrowers, Aug. 24, 2022. The Plan provided Pell Grant recipients $20,000 and other borrowers with a combined income of less than $125,000 per year, in 2020/2021. Biden sought authority through the HEROESAct of 2003 for debt relief during the COVID-19 National Emergency.
The Conservatives supported the debt forgiveness plan, but it was quickly challenged in court. The States of Arkansas, Iowa and Kansas sued the 8th Circuit. South Carolina, Missouri, Nebraska, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina filed suits in the 5th Circuit. Alexander Taylor and Myra Brown were student borrowers who brought suit in 5th Circuit.
The 8th Circuit is located in South Carolina. It includes Arkansas, Iowa and Kansas. Court Missouri only was given standing by the Courts of Appeals. The The claims of harm by other countries were too weak as the states found that they either caused their own injuries or were not responsible.
Iowa, Kansas Nebraska, South Carolina, and Nebraska all claimed they were going to lose their tax revenue because of a 2021 law which exempts student loan debt discharges. “gross income.” They claim they will lose revenue from tax because their state taxes are tied to each other. “gross income” to the IRS’s definition.
But, the court has ruled that states cannot claim that they have suffered harm by an act they themselves committed. Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska made the decision to link their tax codes with the federal tax code.
In the 1976 case of Pennsylvania v. New Jersey, the court ruled that Pennsylvania could not claim it was harmed when New Jersey enacted a new tax, despite Pennsylvania’s argument that it incurred harm because it allowed residents to claim a tax credit for taxes paid to other states. The A court determined that Pennsylvania was exempt from the requirement to offer tax credits. “can be heard to complain about damage inflicted by its own hand.”
The claim for standing is also suspect because the alleged harm isn’t direct. In a 1927 case, after Florida challenged a federal inheritance tax on the grounds that it would cost the state tax revenue, the court rejected Florida’s argument, finding that the harm was “at most, only remote and indirect.”
The states of Arkansas, Missouri and Nebraska claim that they would lose revenue because the White House’s program only benefits direct loans over family loans, and would encourage borrowers to consolidate any family loans into direct loans. Some state entities have investments in family loans so these states would not be affected. The administration, however, changed its policy and forbids debt holders consolidating this way to get the relief.
“Borrowers with federal student loans not held by [the Department] cannot obtain one-time debt relief by consolidating those loans into Direct Loans,” The brief that was submitted by the Biden administration to the court contains the following notes.
Brown and Taylor both filed lawsuits to challenge the plan. Taylor claimed that they would not be able to receive the full promised relief, either for holding a loan privately or partially, as well for the fact they were not eligible for the maximum amount of $20,000 available to Pell Grant beneficiaries. Their ability to complain was hampered by the fact that the administration failed to post the policy using the standard notice-and comment process.
Here, the remedy sought by Brown and Taylor, of eliminating the program entirely, does not match the harm they allege ― their exclusion from all or some of the relief. The Baude’s and Bray’s briefs, as well as those from the Biden Administration, claim that they have no standing because eliminating the program will not solve their claims of harms.
As for the administrative complaint, the HEROES Act exempts changes in debt payments during a declared national emergency from the normal notice-and-comment period, so the Biden administration’s brief contends that this harm does not actually exist.
That leaves Missouri ― which claims it would lose money that the state-created student loan servicer MOHELA is obligated to donate to a state capital improvements fund, because MOHELA could lose income from any loans it holds that are forgiven.
This is not the best. “strongest argument for standing made by any of the plaintiffs,” Bray and Baude claim that this is still problematic. “the state of Missouri is not the ‘proper party’ to bring this lawsuit.”
MOHELA was created by the State, but it is an autonomous entity which has the ability to sue. MOHELA, not Missouri, is the party that should be suing here, the briefs from Bray and Baude and from the Biden administration argue ― something it is conspicuously not doing.
The MOHELA’s claim to standing due to MOHELA not being able pay state obligations is problematic. Apart from this argument being speculation, MOHELA is already provided extensions by the state to delay paying its obligations. This could set a new standard in standing, which would have a variety of negative consequences.
This theory would be accepted by the court.It It would be a great gift. “any lender” Standing to Sue to Block “any regulation that reduced the income of any of its borrowers,” Bray and Baude argue ― adding that “such a theory should not be taken more seriously here.”
The As they did in a variety of post-Massachusetts v. EPA case where the states had similar arguments, conservative justices might ultimately favor standing. If they do, then the case would come down to whether the relief program is legal, or if it is not allowed under the court’s “major questions doctrine” This limits the scope of regulatory action that could have a negative impact on the economy. Standing is the best option for the Biden administration to preserve its plan, even though it may come with collateral damage.