Protesters in front of the Supreme Court building yesterday. Photo credit: GettyImages.

Takeaways from the Supreme Court hearing yesterday on Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

If an adverse ruling happens, the administration has already stated it has no backup plan.


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The Supreme Court heard yesterday the oral arguments challenging President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness plan. Considering the conservative majority of the high court, justices appeared skeptical of the government’s intention to cancel up to $400 billion in federal loan debt — according to CNN.  

Two lawsuits — Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown — were filed against the Biden administration after it announced the cancellation of up to $20,000 in federal loan debt.  

In Biden v. Nebraska, six states (Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and South Carolina) argue that the Biden plan harms them because they could lose out on tax revenue if individuals from their state are relieved of obligations to repay their student loans, according to Temple Now. In Department of Education v. Brown, two individuals argue that they have already repaid their student loans in full and Biden’s plan wouldn’t benefit them.

The Biden administration argues that its plan is legal under the HEROES Act of 2003, which authorizes the Secretary of Education to waive or modify any requirement or regulation applicable to the student financial assistance programs during a war, military operation or other national emergency — in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Challengers were also unable to prove they are being harmed by the loan forgiveness plan, states the Biden administration — meaning they don’t have the right to sue.  

Supreme Court justices expressed concerns about the plan. According to Forbes, separation of power — if the Congress should act or not — and the broader impacts of the loan forgiveness plan for people who repaid their student loans or never took on such debt were brought to the discussion. 

During the hearing, protesters gathered around the Supreme Court building. The rally counted with the participation of students from all over the country, arguing the legitimacy of the loan forgiveness plan. 

According to The New York Times, now that the arguments have been heard, the justices will cast tentative votes at a private conference in the coming days. Although the cases were heard separately, the decision should be just one — and it tends to take the court about three months after an argument to issue a sentence. 


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