Biden's loan forgiveness program is an 'unconstitutional exercise,' federal judge rules

The judge’s ruling criticized the use of the HEROES Act to justify student loan forgiveness without Congressional action.

The court concluded that it would grant the plaintiff's request for 'vacatur of the Program' but not their motion for 'nationwide injunctive relief.'

Northern District of Texas Judge Mark Pitman declared in a Nov. 10 opinion that President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program is an “unconstitutional exercise” and granted summary judgment against the program. 

Pitman’s ruling criticized the use of the HEROES Act to justify student loan forgiveness without Congressional action. While acknowledging that the use of the HEROES Act removes the requirement for the government to provide notice and a public comments phase, the court noted that whether the act had authority in the matter of student loans was a “different story.”

[RELATED: UPDATE: Supreme Court denies request for an injunction that would halt Biden student loan plan]

“First, the HEROES Act does not mention loan forgiveness…Second, the portions of the HEROES Act Defendants rely on fail to provide clear congressional authorization for the Program. Defendants rely on the COVID-19 pandemic as their justification for the Program…Third…the Department has not “relied on the HEROES Act or any other statutory, regulatory, or interpretative authority for the blanket or mass cancellation,” the opinion stated. 

The court concluded that it would grant the plaintiff's request for “vacatur of the Program” but not their motion for “nationwide injunctive relief.” 

Pitman’s decision renders the Biden Administration’s program “unlawful” and “ retroactively undoes or expunges a past [agency] action.” The Texas judge also noted the “political division” engulfing the country and the student loan forgiveness debate. 

“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,” Pitman said. “And having interpreted the HEROES Act, the Court holds that it does not provide ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the Program proposed by the Secretary.”

[RELATED: WATCH: Forgiving student debt will not incentivize hard work]

The ruling follows the Eighth Circuit Court approving a temporary injunction that stalled the Department of Education from implementing the new student loan forgiveness program on Nov. 1, as Campus Reform previously reported

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied two requests for temporary injunctions earlier this month without submitting the requests for further review with the court. 

Campus Reform contacted the White House and the Department of Education. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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