Supreme Court rejects request to block Biden student loan debt forgiveness program

Politics

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett poses during a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., October 7, 2022. 
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request to block the Biden administration’s student loan debt relief program.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied the emergency application to block the program that had been filed by a Wisconsin taxpayers’ group Wednesday.

Barrett is responsible for such applications issued from cases in the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes Wisconsin. A notation of her denial on the Supreme Court’s docket does not indicate that she referred the application to the entire Supreme Court before she rejected the request.

The loan relief plan, which is set to begin taking effect this weekend, will cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of borrowers.

More than 8 million people submitted applications for the program last weekend after the U.S. Department of Education launched a beta test.

The challenge to the plan came from the Brown County Taxpayers Association in Wisconsin, which had filed a federal lawsuit in that state as part of that effort.

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the suit, saying the group lacked legal standing to stall the plan pending the outcome of the case.

The group then appealed that ruling to the 7th Circuit. In its request Wednesday to Barrett, the group asked that she or the entire Supreme Court suspend implementation of the debt relief program pending the outcome of its appeal.

Dan Lennington, deputy counsel of Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Inc., which acted as lawyers for the taxpayers group, in a statement said, “Of course, we are disappointed that the court denied us emergency relief.”

“But that does not make the program lawful,” Lennington said. “Student loan forgiveness will remain under review by the courts and could possibly still be paused as we advocated for this week.”

— CNBC’s Annie Nova contributed to this report.

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