President Biden’s student loan debt cancellation plan appears to be heading for a Supreme Court showdown.
The Justice Department revealed in a legal filing on Thursday that it plans to ask the Supreme Court to revive the White House’s debt cancellation program that would eliminate as much as $20,000 in debt per borrower.
The Biden administration will ask the high court to reverse an injunction issued earlier in the week by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that prevented the program from moving forward.
The lawsuit against the debt cancellation plan was brought by six Republican state officials who argue that the debt relief plan is unfair and unconstitutional. A three-judge panel on the 8th circuit unanimously voted to pause the program after finding that at least one state, Missouri, had standing to bring the case.
The Justice Department also asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday to stay a Texas judge’s decision to strike down the loan cancellation plan as illegal. The DOJ asked the 5th circuit for a ruling by Dec. 1 in order for the government “to seek relief from the Supreme Court” if necessary.
The lawsuit in the 5th Circuit was filed by the conservative Jobs Creator Network Foundation on behalf of two student loan borrowers excluded from the Biden debt cancellation plan.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett has rejected two requests in other lawsuits to block the debt cancellation plan, but the court has not addressed the legal merits of the program.
As the situation plays out in the courts, the White House must decide whether it will extend the student loan payment pause that has been in effect for over two years.
Monthly payments and interest for most federal student loans have been on pause since March 2020. The pause is slated to expire in January but has been extended multiple times by the 79-year-old president.