The Job Creators Network, one of the groups challenging Biden's student-debt relief in the Supreme Court, said it feels "very good" about its case.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for two lawsuits that blocked the relief.
Biden's administration and Democrats have pushed back on the plaintiffs' standing to sue.
One of the groups that blocked President Joe Biden's student-debt relief plan is feeling confident going into oral arguments at the nation's highest court.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is taking on two lawsuits that paused Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers. One of them was filed by six Republican-led states that argued the relief would hurt their states' tax revenues. The other challenge is from two student-loan borrowers who sued because they did not qualify for the full $20,000 amount of relief.
The latter case was filed by the Job Creators Network Foundation Legal Action Fund on behalf of the borrowers in October. One of the borrowers sued because he did not qualify for a Pell Grant, and therefore would only qualify for $10,000 in relief instead of $20,000. The other borrower sued because her loans were commercially-held and not eligible for any federal debt cancellation.
The group argued that the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act's notice-and-comment procedure, a federal statute that requires agencies to justify rulemaking to the public and give them an opportunity to comment. Karen Harned, chief legal officer for the Job Creators Network Foundation, told reporters on a Monday press call that "we feel very good about our case."
"Our legal arguments are strong," Harned said. "We do feel very strong on the merits of the claim."
"We also think that it's very clear the HEROES Act did not authorize the program," she added. "This really is reminiscent of what we saw with the CDC eviction program and even the OSHA vaccine mandate program, where the government really acted, we believe, outside of the authority it was given on a question of significant economic and political importance that needed Congress to specifically say this was allowed and this administration cannot just sit behind closed doors."
Harned was referring to the HEROES Act of 2003, which Biden used in his plan. It gives the Education Secretary the ability to waive or modify student-loan balances in connection with a national emergency, like COVID-19. Both of the lawsuits challenging Biden's plan said the broad debt relief is an overreach of that authority and should not be done without Congressional approval.
People familiar with the administration's legal strategy also told reporters on a Thursday call that Biden's plan is directed toward remedying the consequences of a national emergency, not stopping the spread of disease — and those financial consequences will remain long after the emergency is over, which is why the relief is warranted.
Additionally, the Supreme Court will be weighing whether plaintiffs in both cases have standing, meaning the plaintiff would be injured by the policy, that the injury can be directly traced back to the defendant, and that the relief they're seeking would address those injuries. Those familiar with the administration's legal strategy said that in the Job Creators Network's case, their desired outcome wouldn't even work in their favor because striking down the relief entirely wouldn't fix their alleged injury of not getting any, or enough, relief.
Still, Republican groups and lawmakers are staying on the offense. Republican lawmakers on the House education committee released a blog post on Monday blasting Biden's "illegal and radical student loan scam."
"Biden is abusing a 2003 law meant to provide time-limited relief to military members during deployment following the attacks on 9/11," it said. "Rather than work with Congress to reform our broken higher education system, this administration is keeping the pandemic going to enact costly student loan 'forgiveness' despite claiming the COVID-19 national emergency was over months ago when acting on other policies."
It's unclear which way the conservative-majority Supreme Court will lean on this case, but Biden's administration and Democratic lawmakers have held that canceling student debt is necessary to help millions of borrowers recover from the pandemic, and the HEROES Act is well within its authority.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a report on Monday, exclusively reviewed by Insider, that detailed "financial disaster for millions of Americans" if the Supreme Court strikes down Biden's relief, and Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal wrote on Twitter that the lawsuits are "the story of right-wing billionaires who are happy to take government subsidies for themselves but don't want to help working people get relief."
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