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Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Student Loan Forgiveness

student debtThe legal challenge to the Biden administration’s student loan cancellation plan, filed on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association, was dismissed Oct. 6 for lack of standing.

10/11/2022 9:45 A.M.

2.5 minute read

A federal judge dismissed a Wisconsin group’s legal challenge to the Biden administration’s student loan cancellation plan on Oct. 6, determining the plaintiff did not have standing as a taxpayer, according to The Hill.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed the lawsuit against President Joe Biden and the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association, ACA International previously reported.

WILL asked the court to immediately block the student loan forgiveness plans while the legal challenge proceeds.

However, U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach rejected that argument , stating that “even if the group did have standing for the case to proceed, it is ‘unclear’ if they would succeed in their request to temporarily block the plan,” according to the report from The Hill.

Given Biden’s indication that the debt forgiveness plan might begin in the coming weeks, lawyers for the Brown County Taxpayers Association have stated that they intend to appeal and request emergency relief.

“This case involves an extraordinary abuse of executive authority which, in our view, requires an exceptional use of taxpayer standing,” Rick Esenberg, one of the group’s attorneys, told The Hill.“These issues will now be reviewed by the appellate courts.”

In his ruling, the judge underlined that if the association’s claims were accurate, a subsequent government might try to collect the allegedly forgiven debts.

“Because [the p]laintiff lacks standing, that issue is not before the court at this time,” Griesbach wrote. “Those seeking to take advantage of the program, however, may wish to consider this possibility before placing undue reliance on the benefits promised.”

The group had argued that the debt cancellation plan violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment in addition to usurping authority from Congress because the White House claimed the program was intended to improve racial justice.

The fate of similar lawsuits against the Biden administration and the Department of Education are still unknown. Six state attorneys general have filed suit against the Biden administration for overreach of its executive powers in its student loan forgiveness plan, ACA previously reported.

The state attorneys general case against the DOE follows a federal lawsuit from the Pacific Law Foundation arguing congressional approval is needed for such mass student debt relief by the Biden administration.

The Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit has similar grounds, although the judge in the case denied the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction blocking the student loan forgiveness policy, according to reason.com.

A separate state case challenging the DOE’s student loan forgiveness also calls into question the costs and impact on the economy from the student loan forgiveness and payment pauses.

That case, a lawsuit in an Oregon District Court, is challenging the Department of Education and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s authority to discharge or forgive student loan debt on a mass basis under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEREOS) Act of 2003, ACA previously reported.

If you have executive leadership updates or other member news to share with ACA, contact our communications department at [email protected]. View our publications page for more information and our news submission guidelines here.

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