Challenges to President Biden’s student debt relief plan have made it to the highest court in the land. On Tuesday (Feb. 28), the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in back-to-back cases that seek to put an end to the loan forgiveness program enacted by the president last year.
The nine justices will tackle the constitutionality of the move and the fairness in which it is applied to borrowers across the country. Biden v. Nebraska is a lawsuit brought forward by the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina which argues that the amnesty will cause states to lose tax revenue, hurting them financially.
The second case, Department of Education v. Brown, involves two plaintiffs who aren’t able to reap the benefits of the order. Myra Brown is ineligible for government debt relief because her loans are commercially held, while Alexander Taylor qualifies for just $10,000 and not the full $20,000 because he didn’t receive a Pell grant. The Court will examine if either suit has legal standing.
Biden’s proposal hinges on the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act of 2003, which allows the Department of Education to modify financial assistance programs in response to national emergencies in an effort to alleviate debtors’ monetary woes. The act is the basis of the current payment moratorium set to expire in June of this year.
The cases will be presented to the Supreme Court starting at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday and can be listened to on the Court’s website. Justices have two hours scheduled for the hearings, though they may run longer. The Court will likely hand down its decision by the end of June when they break for a summer recess, as it has in the past for decisions such as its controversial ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022.