An historic coalition of attorneys, advocates, labor unions, and experts filed a series of amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Biden Administration’s student debt relief program.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On December 1, the United States Supreme Court announced that it would consider Nebraska v. Biden, the overtly partisan challenge to President Biden’s debt cancellation program, during its 2022 session. Since President Biden first announced his intention to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for the vast majority of borrowers, the administration has faced a series of politically motivated legal attempts to halt this effort. To date, more than 26 million Americans have applied, and 16 million have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education to receive debt relief. These borrowers remain in limbo as the Supreme Court considers this case.
The Student Borrower Protection Center joined with Democracy Forward and American Federation of Teachers to lead an effort to support the administration’s legal defense of debt relief before the Supreme Court. Today, the Student Borrower Protection Center released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s announcement:
“The letter of the law is clear: canceling student debt was legal when Joe Biden announced his historic debt relief plan in August and remains so today,” said SBPC executive director Mike Pierce. “In the wake of a series of radical decisions decimating fundamental rights Americans hold dear, the public now rightfully questions whether this court is interested in pursuing justice or upholding the rule of law. Once again, the credibility of the Supreme Court rests on its ability to recognize what we all know to be true: canceling student debt is legal and necessary to secure the financial futures of 40 million Americans. We remain confident that the President’s right-wing opponents will not bait him into becoming America’s student debt collector and will keep fighting in and out of court to keep his promise to cancel student debt.”
In this case, six Republican state officials brought a challenge on behalf of a large student loan company based in Missouri. In October, a Republican-appointed judge dismissed this legal challenge, ruling that the six Republican state officials who brought this lawsuit had no legal basis to block student debt relief. Last month, without ever addressing the merits of this challenge, three republican-appointed judges on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted the President from canceling student debt. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn this decision.
On September 29, 2022, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, joined by Republican attorneys general in Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Arkansas, along with the Solicitor General of Iowa, filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri seeking to block President Biden’s effort to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for 40 million Americans. This lawsuit alleges that the State of Missouri, speaking on behalf of MOHELA, is suffering ongoing, irreparable harm due to increased “compliance costs” to the state-backed student loan company and the prospect of “imminent loss of revenue” should fewer Americans owe student loans. In effect, a state-backed student loan company hired to act as a federal contractor is asserting it has standing to veto federal student loan policy nationwide in order to protect its profits.
On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, a federal judge heard oral arguments to consider whether to grant MOHELA’s motion to block student debt relief for tens of millions of people. That judge denied the motion and dismissed the case. The plaintiffs appealed to the 8th circuit and motioned for an emergency injunction pending the appeal. That injunction was granted. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn this decision.
An historic coalition of attorneys, advocates, labor unions, and experts filed a series of amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Biden Administration’s student debt relief program. This coalition, led by the Student Borrower Protection Center, Democracy Forward, and the American Federation of Teachers, filed five briefs signed by dozens of organizations, scholars, experts, and lawmakers. These briefs showcase the broad support, strong legal foundation, and urgent economic necessity underpinning President Biden’s effort to cancel student debt for 40 million Americans.
A series of amicus curiae briefs filed with the Supreme Court by SBPC and a coalition of advocates in support of the Biden Administration’s student debt relief program is available here: https://protectborrowers.org/coalition-amici-urge-supreme-court-to-halt-republican-scheme-to-block-student-debt-relief
A copy of the complaint in Nebraska, Missouri, et. al. v. Biden is available here: https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.moed.198213/gov.uscourts.moed.198213.1.0_1.pdf
A copy of the reply brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice is available here:
Cease and desist letter from American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO (AFT) and the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) to student loan giant MOHELA for unlawful loan servicing practices: Missouri-Based Student Loan Giant Accused of Illegal Scheme to Block Student Debt Relief for Millions of Borrowers
About Student Borrower Protection Center
The Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) is a nonprofit organization focused on alleviating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. The SBPC engages in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance economic opportunity for the next generation of students.