U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, appointed by Donald Trump, declared the policy illegal in an order Thursday.
“In this country we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” Pittman wrote in his order. The Constitution provides for three separate and independent branches of government.”
The Biden administration did not immediately comment on the decision, but officials have previously said they would oppose any order that would interfere with the plan. If you appeal, the case will be sent to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Pittman’s order comes after the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay to the loan forgiveness program in another lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states last month. These lawsuits are among a growing number of legal challenges to block Biden’s program. Some of these cases, including one filed in Indiana and another in Wisconsin, have been dismissed for lack of evidence, while others are ongoing.
Republican attorneys general, top lawmakers and conservative groups have debated legal options to dismantle Biden’s plan since his announcement in August. A week later, the chairman of the Job Creators Network, founded by Republican donor Bernie Marcus, said: Home Depot co-founder — told Fox News the group has built a legal team and is working with outside advisors to prepare the case.
On Thursday, Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, praised the ruling, saying it “protects the rule of law that demands that all Americans have their voices heard by the federal government.” said.
“This illicit student loan bailout attempt would have done nothing to address the root cause of affordable tuition: far more than inflation year after year while sitting on a $700 billion fund. It’s a greedy, bloated college that raises tuition,” Parker said in a statement. “We hope today’s court decision lays the groundwork for a real solution to the student loan crisis.”
Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers have attacked Biden’s plan from the start and applauded Thursday’s court decision. , continues to operate as if its own power to transfer billions of dollars in student loans is legitimate, but the rule of law states: This radical plan is completely It must be gutted, and Republicans will continue to support legal challenges to that end.”
In the Texas lawsuit, plaintiffs allege in part that the Biden administration made arbitrary decisions about who was eligible for debt forgiveness and how much outstanding balances were canceled. For borrowers earning up to $125,000 a year, or up to $250,000 a year for married couples, up to $10,000 in federal student loans will be canceled.borrower who received
Pell Grants are eligible for an additional $10,000 waiver.
According to the complaint, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Alexander Taylor, is under the income threshold and is eligible for a $10,000 forgiveness from a $35,000 student loan he holds for a bachelor’s degree at the University of Dallas. there is. However, he has never received a Pell grant, a federal grant for low-income students, so he is not eligible to receive the additional $10,000 offered to Pell grant recipients. .
Another plaintiff in the lawsuit, Myra Brown, is not covered by Biden’s plan because federal loans originated through the defunct Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program are held by private entities. Until late September, commercial FFEL borrowers like Brown could consolidate their loans directly into their loans to qualify for Biden’s plan. We have reversed this policy to prevent legal challenges like this.
As a result of this decision, Brown, who owes $17,000 in student loans to pursue a graduate degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, is no longer able to access the program.
In documents filed with the court in response to the complaint, the Justice Department argued that the 2003 law underpinning Biden’s plan does not require notice or comment. Known as the Heroes Act, it gives the Secretary of Education the power to “reduce hardship that may be suffered by recipients of federal student loans as a result of a national emergency.”
Lawyers argue that the program’s parameters were informed by studies showing that the risks of delinquency and default are severe among low-income borrowers and Pell recipients. said they were not entitled to loan forgiveness and their complaints did not lead to specific injuries.
Pittman objected to the use of the Heroes Act, stating that it “has not given explicit congressional approval to the program proposed by the Secretary.”
He added: But for our republic to survive, it is imperative that the separation of powers outlined in our constitution is maintained. ”
Student advocates are concerned about the outcome of lawsuits after Pittman recently told parties that he plans to rule on the merits of the lawsuit, rather than determining whether a borrower is eligible to sue. was soliciting
“It shows that he never really considered the ongoing debates made by the government, did not care to establish the record on actual facts, and instead based his opinion on unsubstantiated ideological beliefs. ,” said Mike Pearce, executive director of the Center for Student Borrower Protection, an advocacy group, on Thursday.
Abby Shaffros, director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Center for Consumer Law, said the current analysis in Pittman’s opinion is “poor and seriously flawed.”
“Before reaching their merits, which likewise received limited attention, they should be dismissed on appeal as a purely legal matter,” Mr Shafroth said. We cannot simply stand here because it does not provide the possibility of redress through the courts, which is a requirement for having a lawsuit.”
This is a developing story.