Rep. Ocasio-Cortez suggests 'corruption' of SCOTUS will result in death of Biden's student loan debt cancellation plan

June 6, 2023
Ben Marquis

The Supreme Court will likely issue a ruling soon with regard to challenges against President Joe Biden's student loan debt cancellation plans, and the prospects for that program don't look particularly good.

On Sunday, progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) informed her followers on Instagram of the likelihood that the Supreme Court would kill the student loan debt relief program despite "optimism" from the White House that the program would survive, the Washington Examiner reported.

However, in the view of the congresswoman, the program would be killed by the Supreme Court not because the administration lacked the proper authority to enact it, but rather because of the "corruption" and partisanship of the high court's conservative-leaning majority.

Ocasio-Cortez doesn't trust "SCOTUS' corruption"

The Examiner noted that one of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's followers on Instagram posted a comment that asked if there was any "hope" that President Biden's student loan debt forgiveness program would be saved by the Supreme Court.

The congresswoman reportedly replied, "In every convo we’ve had with the White House, they feel very strongly about the chances of their case before the court."

"While I personally do not share their same sense of optimism (not because I doubt the legal case, but because I do not believe the SCOTUS’ corruption can be trusted), the Biden admin has been insistent that they feel they have a case," she continued.

Ocasio-Cortez went on to add that she was among those who had urged the Biden administration to develop alternate plans to forgive student loan debt just in case the program unveiled in January didn't survive the legal challenges against it.

"I (and others) in turn have been very adamant on having a Plan B," she added. "What we should not accept is a situation where there’s no plan B and the admin just shrugs in the event of a bad ruling. Absolutely not."

Court's majority was "skeptical" of administration's claimed authority

What Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was likely referring to with her quip about the "corruption" of the Supreme Court are media-driven allegations seized upon by Democrats like herself of purported ethical violations by the Republican-appointed justices, particularly Justice Clarence Thomas, who is accused of not properly reporting "gifts" received from a personal friend that he was not actually required to disclose previously.

As for the prospects of President Biden's plan to cancel upwards of $20,000 in student loan debt for certain eligible borrowers, totaling an estimated $400 billion, SCOTUSblog reported in February following oral arguments that a majority of the court appeared "skeptical" of the administration's cited authority to do so.

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, the Trump administration cited a post-9/11 law known as the HEROES Act that allows for the Department of Education to "waive or modify" various statutory requirements of federal student loan programs during a "national emergency" to ensure that service members and first responders aren't saddled with making payments on their accrued student loan debts while serving the country.

The Biden administration then took that a step further and decided to simply "forgive" or cancel anywhere from $10,000-20,000 in federal student loan for tens of millions of borrowers, which prompted two separate challenges from a group of Republican-led states as well as from two individual borrowers who were either only partially eligible or completely ineligible for the offered financial relief.

Ruling likely imminent

The first of those cases is Biden v. Nebraska, in which the group of states argued that the administration exceeded its statutory authority, while the second case, Department of Education v. Brown, also questioned the statutory authority of the plan and whether it was devised and implemented in the proper administrative manner.

SCOTUSblog noted that a decision on those two cases, which were heard together in February, will likely be released at some point in June or early July.

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