On Thursday, the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden revealed that it would be attempting to revive the administration’s ill-fated student debt relief program via the Supreme Court.
The program has faced a series of challenges from concerned states, citizens, and advocacy groups, leading it to be ruled unlawful by numerous lower courts.
According to CNN, the DOJ made their intentions clear in a filing with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a three-judge panel with the Eighth Circuit declared on Monday that their injunction would apply to the entire country, and could only be undone via them or the Supreme Court.
“The government will be filing an application with the Supreme Court,” the DOJ wrote, “to vacate a separate injunction against the Secretary’s action entered by the Eighth Circuit earlier this week.”
In a statement, White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan claimed the Biden administration was “confident in our legal authority to carry out this program,” adding that the decision to take the fight to the Supreme Court was made so that “borrowers can get the clarity and relief they deserve quickly.”
The legality of the program has been strongly rebuked, with US District Judge Mark Pittman calling it “one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.”
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone,” Pittman wrote in his decision. “Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government … The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved. And having interpreted the HEROES Act, the Court holds that it does not provide ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the Program proposed by the Secretary.”
Many top Democrats have come out in support of Biden, however, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was fact-checked on Twitter over her claim that the president was legally able to institute such a program.
Shortly after that, a 2021 video of soon-to-be former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explaining that Biden does not have that authority made the rounds on Twitter.
“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness,” Pelosi began. “He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power.” She went on to note that such policies must go through Congress.
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