Biden administration asks the Supreme Court to allow student loan forgiveness program

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The program was blocked indefinitely by an appeals court over claims Biden lacks authority from Congress to cancel student debt.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to reinstate President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which has been blocked by a federal appeals court.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar in court papers urged the justices to lift an injunction imposed by the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. Separately, a federal judge in Texas in a different case has also blocked the plan. The government has also asked the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift that injunction.

In the new filing, Prelogar said that the 8th Circuit’s decision “leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo, uncertain about the size of their debt and unable to make financial decisions with an accurate understanding of their future repayment obligations.”

Various individuals and groups have challenged the proposal, with the case now at the Supreme Court involving claims brought by six states: Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina. The Supreme Court on Friday asked the states to respond to Prelogar’s request by noon on Wednesday, indicating the justices will not act before then.

The court could grant or deny the government’s application or, as it has done in some other cases, agree to hear oral arguments on an expedited basis and issue a more detailed ruling.

A federal judge had ruled that the states did not have legal standing, but the appeals court disagreed, focusing on a Missouri agency that services federal student loans. The state argues that the agency would lose revenue if loans are forgiven.

A major obstacle facing those challenging the program is that they have to show they have legal standing to sue by illustrating how they are harmed by the program.

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