President Joe Biden announced in August his plans to cancel up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt for eligible borrowers, but the program was challenged by multiple lawsuits and two separate courts have blocked it from being implemented.
The Biden administration has now turned to the oft-criticized Supreme Court and has asked it to lift a nationwide injunction and allow the debt relief program to take effect while the litigation against it remains pending, The Hill reported.
The request comes as the Supreme Court, or more specifically Justice Amy Coney Barrett, previously swatted aside two separate emergency appeals from challengers in other lawsuits who sought to have the high court summarily block the Biden administration’s legally dubious debt relief program.
The program was vacated and blocked by separate courts
Reason reported this week that the Biden administration’s student loan debt relief program suffered two major losses in two separate courts in just a matter of days, which prompted the Education Department to abruptly halt accepting and processing applications from eligible borrowers.
Last week, a federal district court in Texas ruled in favor of a challenge by two ineligible borrowers and completely vacated the program altogether on account of it being an unconstitutional overstep of executive branch authority as delegated by Congress.
That decision was almost immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by the administration.
Then on Monday, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a separate state-led challenge against the program, but rather than vacate it, the appeals court simply issued a nationwide injunction to block the program from being implemented or enforced.
The appeal seeks to lift or limit the injunction
According to SCOTUSblog, the Biden administration is now arguing to the Supreme Court that its debt relief program being blocked by the lower courts “leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo,” and as such asked for the program to be reinstated for the time being.
Specifically, this appeal to the high court is focused on lifting the nationwide injunction imposed by the Eight Circuit panel or, failing that, at least limiting the injunction to just Missouri, the lead state in the lawsuit that was granted standing and was determined by the panel to potentially suffer financial harm if Biden’s debt relief program were to go into full effect.
If, however, the Supreme Court declines to lift or otherwise limit the injunction, the administration has also asked that the case be picked up and fast-tracked and considered on its merits within the next few months.
Asking favors from a declared enemy
Given how sharply critical President Biden and his administration have been toward the conservative majority-led Supreme Court on a range of issues, it is more than a little bit humorous to now see them plead with that same court for favorable treatment for a program that appears wildly unconstitutional on its face.
It remains to be seen if the court will even take up this request for consideration, much less grant it, and it is noteworthy that Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who oversees the Eighth Circuit, has the sole jurisdiction to accept or reject the appeal on his own, though he could also refer it to the entire bench for a decision in that regard, per SCOTUSblog.