On Thursday (November), President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program was struck down as unlawful by a federal judge.
Trump-appointed District Judge Mark Pittman described the program as an “unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power” in his ruling.
The program — which would provide eligible borrowers with up to $20,000 in student debt relief — is lawful, according to the Biden administration, arguing provisions in the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 give the President authority to grant student debt relief.
But in his ruling Thursday, Pittman rejected this notion, stating there isn’t any “clear congressional authorization” for Biden to institute the program.
Pittman’s ruling is the result of the conservative advocacy group Job Creators Network Foundation October filing.
The Job Creators Network Foundation filed their lawsuit on behalf of two borrowers: one who isn’t eligible for Biden’s student debt relief program and another who doesn’t qualify for the $20,000 in debt relief offered to eligible Pell Grant recipients.
In its lawsuit, the group argues the Department of Education didn’t allow for any public participation in the program, adding that the HEROES Act did not give the Department authority to forgive student loans.
Pittman noted that since the Department receives its authority from Congress, the agency would need to prove it has authorization from Congress because of the “economic and political significance” of the program. Pittman ruled the Department did not have such authorization.
Pittman’s ruling is the most significant win for conservatives who oppose Biden’s student loan forgiveness.