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By Sarah May on
 October 22, 2022

Justice Amy Coney Barrett denies emergency challenge to Biden student loan cancellation

In a disappointing development for many of President Joe Biden's detractors, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday declined to entertain a challenge lodged by a group of taxpayers from Wisconsin against President Joe Biden's student debt forgiveness scheme, as the Washington Examiner reports.

The application for emergency review, filed by the Brown County Taxpayer Association, was denied by Barrett without additional comment, and no explanation of the decision not to refer the matter to the full panel of justices was not offered.

In the challenge, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty contended that the Biden administration acted far beyond the scope of its authority in citing emergency authority to make adjustments to student financial assistance program, as the president did in August, when he rolled out plans to forgive upwards of $10,000 in student loans for individuals earning less than $125,000 per year.

As the Examiner noted, Barrett's denial suggests that the justice found that the challengers simply do not have legal standing to demonstrate direct injury from the conduct of which they complain in their legal action, or, in other words, they were unable to demonstrate specific, personal harm resulting from the conduct at issue.

Barrett's decision leaves in place an intermediate appeals court decision that followed a U.S. District Court judge's prior determination of the challengers' lack of standing while a formal appeal continues to make its way through the courts.

According to Reuters, Barrett's rejection of the emergency challenge out of Wisconsin was not the only legal victory for the Biden administration with regard to student loans this week, considering that a federal judge in Missouri also dismissed a Republican-backed challenge to Biden's scheme, also due to a lack of standing on the part of the plaintiffs.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Autrey found that although GOP-backed parties in six states had raised "important and significant challenges to the debt relief plan" pushed by Biden, they simply did not possess cognizable legal standing to pursue a remedy in the courts.

In response to Justice Coney Barrett's decision at the Supreme Court, Dan Lennington, deputy counsel for the Wisconsin taxpayer group stated, "Of course, we are disappointed that the court denied us emergency relief. But that does not make the program lawful. Student loan forgiveness will remain under review by the courts and could possibly still be paused as we advocated for this week."

Reacting to Judge Autrey's ruling, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson declared that "the states continue to believe that they do in fact have standing to raise their important legal challenges," suggesting that the fight against Biden's midterm election-year gambit – which has come nowhere close to being the vote-swaying success story his party's progressive wing anticipated – is likely far from over.

Written By:
Sarah May

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