United States District Judge Mark Pittman struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness executive order on Thursday night, setting off a process of determining whether the program is constitutional or needs to be stopped.
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine. Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States,” Pittman, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote.
Biden’s plan offers up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness to borrowers who make less than $125,000, and up to $20,000 for those who received Pell Grants.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Biden’s plan will cost taxpayers $400 billion.
Ruled by the Constitution
Elaine Parker, President of Job Creators Network Foundation, who brought the lawsuit, said about the ruling, “In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government…The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved. And having interpreted the HEROES Act, the Court holds that it does not provide ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the Program proposed by the Secretary.”
“The court has correctly ruled in favor of our motion and deemed the Biden student loan program illegal. The judge criticized the Biden Administration program, calling it ‘one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.’ This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government,” she went on.
Parker also argued that the bailout would not help bring college tuition costs down and that higher learning institutions should be made to use their $700 billion in endowments to help with tuition rather than making taxpayers pay for it.
The White House was not pleased with the ruling and said that an appeal has already been filed.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House “strongly disagree[s]” with the ruling.
We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program and the Department of Justice has filed an appeal.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) November 11, 2022
The government stopped taking applications for student loan forgiveness after the ruling and said that those who have already submitted applications would have them held while the ruling is being appealed, according to Reuters.
About 26 million borrowers have already applied for loan forgiveness, and 16 million have been approved.