Biden's administration asks the Supreme Court to take on another student-loan forgiveness lawsuit, saying the lower court blocking the debt relief 'profoundly erred'

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden gives remarks on student debt relief at Delaware State University on October 21, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • The Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to pause another ruling that blocked student-debt relief.

  • But if SCOTUS does not pause the ruling, Biden asked SCOTUS to hear arguments in the case next year.

  • The Supreme Court decided Thursday it would hear arguments for a separate lawsuit that blocked relief.

President Joe Biden is once again taking student-loan forgiveness challenges to the nation's highest court.

On Friday evening, Biden's Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to intervene in a lawsuit that blocked student-loan forgiveness last month.

As first reported by Politico, the department's request is in response to a lawsuit brought on by two student-loan borrowers who sued because they did not qualify for the full amount of $20,000 in debt relief that Biden proposed.

The Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to either immediately pause the lower court's order that blocked the relief, or take up the case alongside a separate lawsuit for which the Court already agreed to take on early next year — a case brought on by six Republican-led states who argued the debt relief would hurt their states' tax revenues.

In the legal filing, the Justice Department wrote that the lower court "profoundly erred" by saying that the debt relief went beyond the Education Secretary's legal authority, even though the plaintiffs in the case did not explicitly take on that argument.

"The court erred in considering a claim that respondents never raised; respondents lack standing to challenge the substantive lawfulness of the plan; the plan is in any event lawful; and the court erred in vacating the plan nationwide," the legal filing said.

While the Justice Department indicated the preferable outcome that the Supreme Court could take would be to pause the Texas court's ruling, it's likely the court will act as it did on Thursday by deciding it will hear oral arguments on whether student-loan forgiveness should be revived.

In the meantime, the 26 million borrowers who applied for debt relief will not see any reductions to their balances as legal proceedings play out. But a bit of good news came for them last week — Biden announced he would be extending the student-loan payment pause in light of the lawsuits through June 30, or until the lawsuits are resolved, whichever comes first.

The administration also remains confident in the legal authority it has to enact broad debt relief as part of its pandemic recovery measures.

"Our student debt relief program will help borrowers most at risk of delinquency or default from the pandemic get back on their feet," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote on Twitter on Friday. "@POTUS and I will keep fighting against efforts to rob middle-class families of the relief they need and deserve."

Read the original article on Business Insider