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Supreme Court Conclusion: Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Blocked by Legal Standing Requirements
Legal Standing Requirement Presents Biggest Obstacle to Challenging Student Loan Forgiveness
The biggest obstacle for those who wanted to legally challenge President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness was showing they would be harmed by the relief policy. Proving legal standing is typically a requirement to gain the right to sue, and it is designed to prevent people from using the judicial system to work out policy differences better suited for elections.
The six GOP-led states, including Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina, successfully argued that Biden's plan would lead to a loss of profits for the companies in their states that service federal student loans.
Conservative Justices Find Legal Standing for Some States
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts found that the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) would lose around $44 million a year in fees from servicing federal student loans. Therefore, Roberts concluded that Missouri had successfully proven legal standing, and the court did not need to consider standing for the other states.
Controversy Surrounding Legal Standing and Standing Requirements
Legal experts and consumer advocates were skeptical that MOHELA's revenue would actually be negatively affected by Biden's plan. They argued that the lender's revenue was expected to rise due to an increase in student loan accounts after other servicers left the space.
Some experts and legal scholars, such as Luke Herrine from the University of Alabama, expressed confusion over the court's decision and the lack of attention given to the issue of standing. The requirement of legal standing has traditionally been defended by conservative justices, such as former Justice Antonin Scalia.
Liberal Justice Disagrees with Legal Standing for Missouri
Liberal justice Elena Kagan strongly disagreed with Roberts' finding of legal standing for Missouri. She argued that MOHELA was financially independent from the state, and any revenue loss would be MOHELA's alone. Kagan emphasized that the state's treasury would not be affected by Biden's plan.
Legal Justification and Power of the President
President Biden justified his student loan forgiveness plan by citing the Heroes Act of 2003, which grants the president broad power to revise student loan programs during national emergencies. The Covid pandemic was seen as such an emergency, and the U.S. Department of Education warned of the financial struggles faced by millions of borrowers without loan cancellation.
Roberts disagreed with the president's interpretation of the Heroes Act, stating that it did not permit the sweeping student loan forgiveness that Biden was attempting to deliver. Kagan, however, maintained that the statute gave the secretary of education broad authority to alleviate the financial burdens caused by a national emergency.
Supreme Court's Overreach and Consequence for Loan Forgiveness
In the end, Kagan argued that the Supreme Court had exceeded its authority by overriding the combined judgment of the legislative and executive branches. This decision ultimately resulted in the elimination of loan forgiveness for 43 million Americans.
Hot Take: Impact of Blocked Student Loan Forgiveness on New Businesses
Unforeseen Consequences for New Businesses
The Supreme Court's decision to block President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan based on legal standing requirements could have unforeseen consequences for new businesses. While the focus of the case was on the impact on loan servicing companies, the ripple effect may extend to entrepreneurs and startups.
Limited Access to Capital for New Ventures
Startups often rely on loans and credit to fund their business ventures. With the elimination of loan forgiveness for millions of Americans, the burden of student loan debt will continue to weigh heavily on individuals seeking to start their own businesses. This could lead to limited access to capital, making it more challenging for aspiring entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground.
Legal Standing Requirement Raises Hurdles for Business Advocacy
The controversy surrounding the legal standing requirement and its application in this case highlights the difficulties faced by new businesses when advocating for policy changes. The requirement sets a high bar for proving harm, making it challenging for entrepreneurs to bring forward legal challenges against policies that may be detrimental to their ventures.
A Missed Opportunity for Economic Stimulus
Loan forgiveness has the potential to stimulate the economy, including supporting new businesses. By reducing the burden of student loan debt, aspiring entrepreneurs would have more financial freedom to invest in their ventures, hire employees, and contribute to economic growth. The blocking of this relief may deprive new businesses of a much-needed boost in a post-pandemic recovery.
Overreach vs. Protection: Balancing Legal Power
The Supreme Court's decision in this case raises questions about the balance of power between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches, and how it impacts entrepreneurship and economic progress. While legal standing requirements provide a safeguard against policy disputes being resolved in the courts, the consequences on new businesses should also be considered.
The Need for Nuanced Examination
As policymakers and legal experts reflect on this decision, it is crucial to consider the nuanced implications it may have for new businesses. Striking a balance between protecting against overreach and enabling entrepreneurial endeavors is essential for fostering innovation, economic growth, and a thriving business ecosystem.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/16/takeaways-from-supreme-court-ruling-on-biden-student-loan-forgiveness.html