To forgive or not to forgive – the student loan battle makes it to SCOTUS

March 1 – The United States Supreme Court heard arguments about the student loan forgiveness program laid out last year in an executive order from President Joe Biden. 

The program would cancel $10,000 in federal student loans for anyone making less than $125,000 a year or households earning less than $250,000 annually. 

The Congressional Budget Office said the whole forgiveness plan would ultimately cost taxpayers about $400 billion over the next three years. 

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, spoke outside the Supreme Court yesterday where she expressed her displeasure – at a rather loud decibel. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “It’s pretty clear that this thing is going to be defeated if yesterday is any indication of where the Court is going with this. As we said from square one when this was announced last August, it’s very questionable that the president as the executive branch has this level of authority. You heard that loud and clear from various justices yesterday. When you’re talking about $400+ billion, this is something that they consider a major question that needs Congressional input, Congressional approval.” 

In fact, there were a lot of questions to the solicitor general’s office, who represents the executive branch, asking why wasn’t there Congressional approval and why does the president think he has this authority? 

Barkdoll said, “They frankly didn’t have great answers for this. So if you’re in this 40+ million people that have made their applications for this loan forgiveness, I would not be banking on this to happen. We’ll likely have a decision in June on this and assuming that the executive order is overturned, essentially the student repayment plans just continue to go. Your loans are reset. You need to keep paying as business as usual, even though some payments were suspended during COVID you’re going to have to get your payments back on track quickly. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “What I keep hearing from commentary is well they have almost as slam dunk on unconstitutionality in terms of the president deciding to spend all this money without Congressional approval, but then I hear the you know, the group who brought it might not have standing, so it might get thrown out on that. It’s not about whether something’s constitutional or not when the president and other people do these obviously unconstitutional moves because they count on the process helping them to get things done. If they would throw this out on standing, this is outrageous. I still don’t understand why the president of the United States who took a vow to uphold and support the constitution of the United States can do something so blatantly unconstitutional, where they may even kind of admit it’s unconstitutional, and not be held accountable just for putting that into motion.” 

Barkdoll said, “My prediction is this gets defeated. However there were a lot of questions yesterday saying that these six states that have brought this challenge, do you have legal standing to block the president’s executive order?” 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett went as far to ask why is the state government that’s bringing this? Why isn’t it some other agency that would have oversight of student loan payments or distributions? 

Barkdoll said, “If the executive order is upheld and it will not be on the merits. The one item that came up that’s kind of counter to having this overturned is this standing issue. It appeared there were at least four justices including Coney Barrett that were very skeptical whether these state governments had the power to challenge this executive order.”