WASHINGTON – A conservative legal group filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court on Tuesday asking it to block the Biden administration from implementing its $400 billion student loan forgiveness program.
Biden’s plan, which would cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients for those earning up to $125,000 a year, has already been placed on hold by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit as it considers a separate appeal.
Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined a similar request from a taxpayer group in Wisconsin to temporarily block the Biden administration from implementing the student loan forgiveness program. Barrett issued that order Oct. 20 without explanation.
Pacific Legal Foundation filed its emergency request Tuesday, appealing a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
The reason there are so many different lawsuits is that groups opposed to the program are attempting to find a plaintiff who has standing – in other words, who can demonstrate they are injured by the effort in a way that allows them to challenge it in federal court. The latest filing from Pacific Legal comes on behalf of two people entitled to “automatic” cancellation of their debt. The plaintiffs claim that the automatic cancellation of their debt will create “excess tax liability under state law.”
The federal government has since given borrowers the ability to opt out of the plan to forgive student loans but the plaintiffs claim it’s not clear how to do so.
A U.S. District Court concluded the plaintiffs lacked standing.
A separate, pending case in the 8th Circuit involves six conservative states who have asserted that the mass debt cancellation plan would prompt borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) to consolidate their debts into Direct Loans. Some of the states suing are home to quasi-state agencies that service these types of loans.