President Joe Biden has scored a major court victory in his proposal for a more modest student loan debt relief after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down his larger relief plan.
U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington on Monday dismissed a lawsuit from two conservative groups that sought to block 804,000 borrowers who had made payments for 20 to 25 years to begin receiving $39 billion in student loan debt relief this month. Biden announced the plan last month, just weeks after the Supreme Court blocked his bid to forgive around $400 billion in debt from millions of borrowers.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) on behalf of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Cato Institute, argued that “no authority allows the [Department of Education] to count non-payments as payments” and accused the Biden administration of setting “an accelerated schedule” for debt relief that was “apparently designed to evade judicial review.”
Ludington, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, dismissed the lawsuit on the basis of standing, arguing that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that they would suffer any “injury” by Biden’s plan going into effect. Ludington also decided against NCLA’s request to temporarily block the debt relief, which had been set to go into effect on August 13 before the suit was filed.
Biden celebrated the ruling in a statement touting his accomplishments in providing “$116 billion in debt cancellation for 3.4 million Americans – no matter how many lawsuits, challenges, or roadblocks Republican elected officials or special interests put in our way.”
“Today, because of actions my Administration took, these 804,000 borrowers who have been in repayment for over 20 years will start to see their student debt cancelled,” Biden said. “Over 614,000 of them will have all of their remaining federal student loan debt cancelled once this action is complete.”
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on our student debt relief plan, we will continue to pursue an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible,” he continued. “We will use every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams.”
Student loan payments are set to resume in October, after years of payment pauses enacted by both Biden and former President Donald Trump in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for the link to the full story Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Gets a Major Win (newsweek.com)