The United States Supreme Court has rejected a request from a Wisconsin taxpayers’ group to block President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program.
- The Brown County Taxpayers Association asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to suspend President Biden’s relief program pending the appeal of its previously dismissed lawsuit.
- Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who’s responsible for handling emergency application requests from the Seventh Circuit, rejected the BCTA’s request on Thursday.
- This was the second legal victory for the Biden administration in a single day, as soon after Justice Barrett’s decision, a federal district judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by six-Republican states against the president’s plan.
The BCTA’s Ongoing Legal Battle
The request came from the Brown County Taxpayers Association, which had filed a lawsuit earlier this month against President Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The BCTA argued that the administration’s student debt forgiveness plan was unconstitutional and a breach of the 5th Amendment’s equal protection doctrine. A federal judge dismissed the BCTA’s case, prompting the taxpayers’ group to later file an appeal of this ruling. The BCTA then asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to suspend President Biden’s forgiveness plan while awaiting the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision.
Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as the person responsible for handling emergency application requests from the Seventh Circuit, was the one who received and subsequently denied the BCTA’s request. It’s uncertain whether or not she referred the request to her fellow Supreme Court justices before rejecting it.
Justice Barrett’s denial means that President Biden’s plan will be allowed to move forward (at least for now), and the U.S. Department of Education can begin discharging student debt as early as this Sunday. This isn’t the end for the BCTA, however. Even if the taxpayers’ group’s appeal is also rejected by the Seventh Circuit, it can then request the Supreme Court review the decision. The BCTA’s lawsuit was originally dismissed on the grounds that it lacked the necessary legal standing (i.e., the taxpayers’ group couldn’t show that the student debt relief program would constitute harm), but recent rulings suggest the Supreme Court may rule in the BCTA’s favor.
One of Two Victories for Debt Relief
Not long after Justice Barrett’s decision, another closely watched challenge to the student debt relief program was dismissed in Missouri. In late September, six Republican-led states filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on the grounds that loan forgiveness constituted harm for private banks that own federal loans. A federal district judge ruled that these states lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.
Since the Biden administration announced its student debt relief program back in August, it has been challenged by multiple opposing parties. Many of these lawsuits are currently working their way through the lower court system, though whether any of these will have an easier time proving a personal injury remains to be seen.