SCOTUS deciding on Biden's student loan forgiveness program

According to the news the impression is that SCOTUS will rule against Biden.

I’ll lead this off by asking, why is standing not apparently an issue here? We have two individuals not even eligible for an optional loan forgiveness program. Missouri is claiming that a third party MHELA may not be able to pay some fees in some hypothetical future. I have no clue how the other five states are claiming direct damage from Biden’s plan. So how in the world have these plaintiffs been allowed to work this case through the courts?

The question of whether the plaintiffs have standing is one of the issues the court is being asked to decide.

The plaintiffs appear to be arguing that the Biden administration did not follow proper procedures in implementing this policy because it did not have a period for the public to read the policy and comment on it. Their argument is that the harm they suffered was being denied an opportunity to request they be allowed to participate in the program.

Which is silly, because if they win their case, they won’t be eligible for any loan forgiveness at all.

As to the states, the administration says that they don’t have standing because they won’t be harmed (or if they will, it’s self-harm, nothing to do with the program).

The statutory text is clear, and it’s clear that neither the states nor these individuals have standing, but the conservative majority is obviously going to stop the forgiveness program anyway.

Are only white collar college students involved in this idea? Would a blue collar worker who got a loan to go to a really good trade school to learn welding, A/C and Refrigeration, auto technician, etc be eligible for their loans being forgiven too? I haven’t read anything about that.

Yes, if they took out federal student loans to get their two-year or four-year degree, they would be eligible.

I was trying to present their argument in a neutral manner.

But I agree that the relief the plaintiffs are seeking doesn’t seem to address the harm they are claiming they suffered.

I think the Administration used the argument I referenced, but probably avoided calling them silly.

I should also note that the plaintiffs I’m referring to are Myra Brown and Andrew Taylor, from the case of Department of Education v. Brown, and not the plaintiffs in Biden v Nebraska, which is a separate case on student loans also being heard by the court.

I thought that banks instigated this so they would not lose interest from the paid off loans.

The only arguments I keep hearing are along the lines of “I had to pay back my loans, so why should these people get a break?” Sour grapes is not a legal argument, as far as I know.

Here’s an Ian Millhiser (Vox) Tweet that links to an article that sums things up pretty well.

It’s pretty clear that both lawsuits are garbage and the plaintiffs in each case don’t have standing.

In Nebraska…

The plaintiffs in the Nebraska suit are six red states, only one of which, Missouri, has a plausible claim that it was injured by the student loan relief program.

Essentially, Missouri argues that it is injured because a corporation largely controlled by the state — the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri (MOHELA) — will lose revenue if the loan forgiveness program takes effect.

But MOHELA did not file a lawsuit, Missouri did, and it is unclear under current law whether a state may claim an injury because a state-owned corporation is injured by a federal policy.

And in Brown…

Frequently, for example, federal law requires government agencies to undergo a time-consuming process known as “notice and comment” before they can alter federal policy. But the Heroes Act explicitly exempts the secretary’s power to waive or modify loans from this process.

(This, by the way, is why the Brown lawsuit is so weak. The plaintiffs in that case allege that the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program is unlawful because it did not go through notice and comment.)

And none of that will make a difference.

Meanwhile, the Court’s Republican appointees seemed more concerned that giving too much power to a presidential administration is itself inherently dangerous, and thus the Court must create some extratextual limits on the administration’s power. Under this approach to the law, the ultimate decision whether to cancel student loans rests not with any elected official, but with the Court itself.

And, with six Republican appointees and only three Democrats on the Court, that means that it is likely that no one will have their loans forgiven.

I’m going to @Hamlet, who has done a good job explaining these kinds of things on this board in the past. These cases seem like such obvious slam dunks for the administration, and yet it’s clear SCOTUS will rule against them. I’d love to hear how they may thread that needle.

Which of course contradicts the conservatives previous embrace of a unitary executive, but I guess that that constitutional theory only applies to Republican presidents.

Do you think this is a situation where Biden should say “SCOTUS has made their decision, now let’s see them enforce it”?

Hypothetically, if Trump had decided to forgive loans on a similar basis (which isn’t strictly impossible, since he did do some things to get people to approve of them, regardless of ideology), do you suppose the apparent political bias on the SC (lefties leaning one way, righties the other) would be reversed? Or unanimously in favor? Certainly not unanimously opposed.

The shortsightedness of Republicans never fails to amuse me, insofar as when a Republican is president the party bends over backwards to extend and protect the president’s powers, but when a Democrat is president they act shocked and appalled that anyone could ever be so power-hungry. I know their real goal is to make Democratic presidents impossible, but every time maximizing executive power comes back to bite them it’s funny. Obama used Bush-era presidential powers much to Republican chagrin, and now Biden is exercising the exact same sort of powers Trump deployed to equal dismay.

@Mr.E, it would be awesome if that was true, but they have a 6-3 majority on SCOTUS who are, at times, seemingly unconcerned with what the law or the Constitution says. They are the interpreters of the rules and if they say the rules say Republican presidents have more power than Democratic presidents, then those are the rules.

For reference, please see the eviction moratorium. Started under Trump and ruled unconstitutional in an unsigned opinion when Biden took over.

Do you think that student loans is what SCOTUS will deligitamize itself over?

I mean, it’s going to be something, may as well be, but I would have thought that they would have found something more fitting for the implosion of our government.

I think they’ve already delegitimized themselves, and for the most part, they don’t give a shit.

Fair enough. I would have thought they would try to maintain at least the public perception of not being a tool of the far right a little longer.

But, obviously, the court system needs to be delegitimized and broken for their ends, so this is just that step.