Thursday, October 20, a federal judge dismissed challenges filed by the Republican-led states against President Biden’s program to dismiss student debts worth billions of dollars. Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is expected to move forward now.
In St. Louis, Missouri, US District Court Judge Henry Autrey threw the case out shortly after Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected another challenge brought by a Wisconsin group. Autrey deemed that while the conservative states did present “important and significant challenges to the debt relief plan,” the legal standing to pursue the case was absent.
The six states which filed the case are South Carolina, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and Arkansas. The parties claimed that the debt relief plan threatened state revenues and entities which service or invest in student loans.
These were just two of many challenges legal groups and Republican state attorney generals (AGs) filed in opposition to the forgiveness plan. Coney Barrett gave no explanation why she denied the emergency request filed by the Brown County Taxpayers Association. Approximately one hour later, Autrey issued his ruling.
A lower court had already dismissed the Wisconsin lawsuit because it could not show the loan relief would harm the group. This mirrors Autrey’s ruling on the multi-state case that was brought before him.
More than one Republican AG has vowed to appeal Autrey’s decision. Doug Peterson of Nebraska claimed, “The states continue to believe that they do in fact have standing to raise important legal challenges.”
Mitch McConnell, the top-ranking Republican Senator, labeled the loan relief as “socialism” and claimed it would contribute to (already soaring) inflation and be a “slap in the face” to those who paid back student loans in full or served in the military to avoid educational debts.
On the other side of the fence, Democrats hope the program will support them in the crucial midterm elections as November 8 approaches quickly. President Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year ($250,000 for married couples) stands to benefit millions of people who need this relief the most.