A Texas Federal Judge has stricken down the student loan debt forgiveness scheme put forward by President Joe Biden via the Federal Department of Education. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled that the attempted procedural maneuver by Biden’s administration is unlawful and must be vacated.
Judge Pittman called the program an “unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power,” and ruled in favor of two student loan borrowers supported by a conservative advocacy group according to Reuters.
NEWS: Federal judge in Texas strikes down Biden’s student debt relief program, declaring it illegal. pic.twitter.com/02Doi3CXwC
— Michael Stratford (@mstratford) November 10, 2022
NPR reported that Pittman called the move from Biden a “complete usurpation” of congressional authority by the White House and rejected the premise that under the HEROES Act, Congress had delegated the authority to transfer the financial obligation from the debtors to the taxpayers.
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” Pittman wrote. “Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government.”
Judge Pittman explained in his 26-page-ruling, “The Constitution vests ‘all legislative powers’ in Congress. This power, however, can be delegated to the executive branch. But if the executive branch seeks to use that delegated power to create a law of vast economic and political significance, it must have clear congressional authorization. If not, the executive branch unconstitutionally exercises ‘legislative powers’ vested in Congress. In this case, the HEROES Act— a law to provide loan assistance to military personnel defending our nation—does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program. The Program is thus an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated.”
The plan, which already has some 16 million borrowers pre-qualified with another 26 million pending, is anticipated by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to cost the American taxpayers approximately $400 Billion.
The White House confirmed on Thursday that it is already appealing the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded as the most conservative bench in the country according to NPR.
UPDATE: Biden admin confirms it will appeal the judge’s decision to the 5th Circuit. pic.twitter.com/hxXshaLkws
— Michael Stratford (@mstratford) November 11, 2022
From there the case will likely land at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has thus far declined to hear any cases regarding the plan.
“We strongly disagree with the District Court’s ruling on our student debt relief program,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
She added: “The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents – backed by extreme Republican special interests – sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief.”
In his conclusion, Judge Pittman summarized the flaw in Biden’s actions. “Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine. Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.”