U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett denied the second emergency filing seeking to block implementation of federal student debt forgiveness.
The last Trump-appointee’s decision follows an appeal by the libertarian group Pacific Legal Foundation to block President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 of student debt.
The PLF’s Tuesday filing sought to hold up the president’s student loan forgiveness plan after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit refused to block the program last week.
The libertarian group’s attorneys represent two Indiana borrowers who claimed their entitlement to “automatic cancellation” under the president’s forgiveness program would cause “excess tax liability under state law.”
Frank Garrison and Noel Johnson, the borrowers represented by the libertarian PLF, claimed they would be irreparably harmed if student loans were automatically forgiven due to Indiana’s laws on state tax liabilities.
The Education Department changed the program to allow borrowers to opt-out of the debt forgiveness program after Garrison and Johnson sued. A district court judge dismissed their case, ruling the debt relief plan did not injure the two plaintiffs.
Barrett denied a similar Wisconsin request October 20. She was assigned both because she is designated to handle certain emergency requests from the block of states that include both Indiana and Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) attorneys representing the plaintiffs argued Biden exceeded his authority to use the 2003 HEROES Act to absolve student debt. The act allows the education secretary to make amendments to financial assistance programs for students “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency.” President Biden, has declared COVID-19 was a national emergency that met the criteria.
Biden’s plan aims to forgive up to $10,000 in loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year. Student loan debtors who received Pell Grants could have up to $20,000 of their debt canceled if they meet the other criteria for forgiveness.
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