- The taxpayer group is asking the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the program.
- The group says the Biden administration exceeded its authority with the program.
- But a lower court ruled that the group doesn’t have standing to sue.
WASHINGTON – A Wisconsin taxpayer group filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to temporarily block President Joe Biden’s administration from implementing its student loan forgiveness program.
The appeal from the Brown County Taxpayers Association is one of several percolating in federal courts attempting to stop the effort, which critics argue exceeds the Department of Education’s authority. Biden announced the program in August.
Biden’s plan would cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for other borrowers, for people earning up to $125,000 a year or part of a household where total earnings are no more than $250,000.
The administration could start forgiving loans Sunday, according to court records.
“There is no legal justification for this presidential usurpation of the constitutional spending power, which is reserved exclusively for Congress,” the group told the court.
The first hurdle the Wisconsin group needs to clear is demonstrating that it has been injured enough by the program to have standing to sue. U.S. District Judge William Griesbach earlier this month ruled the group did not have standing and the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit declined to grant the group an injunction that would have temporarily blocked the Biden program.
Biden enacted the debt relief plan under the HEROES Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11 attacks sparked an American-led military campaign aimed at terrorism. The act gave the administration authority to forgive student loan debt in association with military operations or national emergencies.
The administration asserted that the law allows loan forgiveness for Americans dealing with financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because the case is arriving on the court’s emergency “shadow docket” it could be decided relatively quickly, within a matter of days. If the high court rules that the group has standing to sue, that would send the case back down to a lower court to decide the questions raised by the lawsuit on the merits.
Contributing: Chris Quintana, Associated Press