Supreme Court — Student Loan Debt Forgiveness No Way

The six conservative justices on the Supreme Court ruled that President Joe Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan is unconstitutional on Friday.

The 6-3 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts means that the 26 million Americans who signed up for the debt forgiveness program will no longer have their debt partially or fully wiped away.

In 2022 Biden announced a plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for more than 40 million loan holders.

The plan authorized $20,000 in relief to Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 in relief to other borrowers who made less than $125,000 a year in 2020 or 2021.

In authorizing the forgiveness plan, Biden cited his authority under the 2003 HEROES Act, passed in the wake of 9/11, to “waive” or “modify” student loan debt terms during a national emergency ― in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the court opposed the position take by the Biden administration.

In the court’s ruling Roberts hold that Biden lacked the authority under the HEROES Act to eliminate student loan debt.

“We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to ‘waive or modify’ existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up,” Roberts wrote.

“The authority to ‘modify’ statutes and regulations allows the Secretary to make modest adjustments and additions to existing provisions, not transform them,” he added.

Roberts further stated that the “modifications” to student loan payments were not “moderate” or “minor,” as his definition of “modify” required. Instead, “they created a novel and fundamentally different loan forgiveness program.”

Meanwhile, Biden said, “This fight is not over. I will have more to announce when I address the nation this afternoon,” he said in a statement. “But I will stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief to hard-working middle-class families. My Administration will continue to work to bring the promise of higher education to every American.”

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 Edited by Jesus Chan

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