: How Biden’s student-loan relief plan could survive a Supreme Court setback

by | Mar 5, 2023 | Stock Market

We’re still months away from finding out how the Supreme Court views the Biden administration’s plan to cancel student debt. But it’s possible that what they say this time around won’t be the last word.  Activists and student loan borrower advocates have vowed for months to pressure the Biden administration to find another path for debt relief if the justices knock down the initiative. In addition, several exchanges during oral arguments indicated that even if the court strikes the plan down, it could do so narrowly, leaving room for the White House and the Department of Education to try again. 

That more moderate approach would focus on the scope of the program and the Biden administration’s reasons for it, instead of the question of whether Congress provided the executive branch with the authorization to cancel student debt.   Christopher Walker, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, said this narrower route “is more possible than I thought” initially, “just based on how the argument went.”  Ruling in this way would require the justices to create a wonky, but important distinction — that the debt relief program violates administrative law, but doesn’t go against the HEROES Act, the statute passed by Congress in 2003 that the Biden administration says gives the executive branch the power to enact the plan.  That law authorizes the Secretary of Education to waive and modify provisions relating to student lo …

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