Supreme Court strikes down President Biden’s plan to erase billions in student debt

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court claimed that the Biden administration's plan lacked authority and overstepped the powers of the Education Department and instead needed to go through Congress.

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In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected President Biden’s plan to cancel more than $400 billion in student debt. This decision will affect 43 million borrowers including 26 million people who already applied to have their student loans forgiven and 16 million who had their application approved.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court claimed that the Biden administration’s plan lacked authority and overstepped the powers of the Education Department and instead needed to go through Congress.

“The question here is not whether something should be done; it is who has the authority to do it,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion. “Under the (Biden administration)’s reading of the HEROES Act, the Secretary (of Education) would enjoy virtually unlimited power to rewrite the Education Act.”

The court also “ruled that the HEROES Act, a 20-year-old law that allows the secretary of education to waive student loans during a national emergency, does not apply,” EdSource reported.

But Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissenting opinion that the secretary of education had the authority to waive student loans.

“What the Secretary did fits comfortably within that (authority),” she said. “From the first page to the last, today’s opinion departs from the demands of judicial restraint. At the behest of a party that has suffered no injury, the majority decides a contested public policy issue properly belonging to the politically accountable branches and the people they represent.”

President Biden vowed to continue to fight to cancel student debt this time through the Higher Education Act, which could take longer. His current plan will continue to help borrowers by waiving default rules for the first year once payments resume or facing collection agencies and bad credit reports if a payment is missed.

“I believe the court’s decision today was a mistake,” Bident said. “It was wrong. I’m never going to stop fighting for this, using every tool available. … It’s good for the economy, good for the country.”

Student loan payments will resume in the fall for millions of borrowers. 

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