A center-right policy-research center based in Columbus, OH is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to nix President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive almost $500 billion in unpaid student loans.
Nebraska and six other states sued the Biden administration to stop the program that Congress never authorized. Last November, petitioners succeeded in getting a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit to pause implementation of the plan. The following month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and oral arguments have been scheduled for February 28.
Last Friday, the Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief supporting critics of the program who believe it is unlawful and exorbitantly costly. The think tank noted it has pursued its own litigation against the federal Department of Education (DoE) to end the debt-forgiveness effort.
In December, the institute sued on behalf of its staffer Amanda Latta who graduated from Waynesburg University and carries student debt exceeding $20,000, qualifying her for Biden’s program. The think tank observed that Latta and other debt holders could face financial shocks if the federal government were to carry out Biden’s plan only to reverse it in the future, subjecting debtors to default penalties and higher interest rates.
“As The Buckeye Institute has argued in Latta v. U.S. Department of Education, the Biden Administration’s student debt cancellation program is likely illegal and will subject millions of Americans to the prospect of being held financially liable for their original loans, and for late fees, potentially increased interest rates and other penalties or collection fees when the federal government recognizes that it still has a legal obligation to collect these loans,” David C. Tryon, director of litigation at The Buckeye Institute, said in a statement. “Before the U.S. Supreme Court is an opportunity to end this illegal program and tell the federal government it cannot forgo collecting nearly $500 billion in debt without congressional approval.”
Buckeye filed Latta in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division. No hearings have taking place regarding that case.
Buckeye noted in its Biden v. Nebraska brief that the Biden administration itself opined in 2021 that acting unilaterally to broadly cancel student debt would illegal. The administration nonetheless decided last year to utilize the obsolescent COVID-19 emergency Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump declared in March 2020 to authorize student-debt forgiveness without congressional approval.
In arguing against the program, the institute alleges that the DoE is violating the U.S. Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, which forbids the U.S. Treasury to pay out funds not appropriated through legislation, and the Property Clause, which empowers Congress to oversee federal property.
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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
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