A federal judge in Texas on Thursday struck down the Biden administration’s student-debt forgiveness plan, imperiling a key administration priority that would have canceled up to $20,000 in student loans for tens of millions of borrowers.
The Biden administration’s plan is an “unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power” that also failed to go through normal regulatory processes, Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas wrote in a 26-page opinion.
“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,” Pittman, an appointee of former President Donald Trump wrote.
The Biden administration can appeal the verdict. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two borrowers—supported by the Job Creators Network, a conservative group—were granted standing in the case because they didn’t qualify for the program. One plaintiff had private student loans that weren’t eligible for forgiveness, while the other wasn’t the recipient of a Pell Grant, meaning he didn’t qualify for an extra $10,000 in forgiveness for which only Pell Grant recipients are eligible. The court ruled that they had been deprived of their right to voice their disagreement with the contours of the program through the usual regulatory process.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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