UPDATED: Court blocks Biden's student loan plan

Texas judge Mark Pittman, who, on November 10, paused the forgiveness program, charging the executive with 'unconstitutionally exercise[ing] ‘legislative powers’ vested in Congress.'

The administration’s meddling with student loans comes at a time when Americans hold more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt.

Editor's Note: After the publication of this article, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear oral arguments for this case in February. The student loan forgiveness program remains effectively blocked. 

After a wave of calls from the White House to push through Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, another court has stalled the move. 

On Wednesday, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied plaintiffs’ attempt to appeal an earlier decision by Texas judge Mark Pittman, who, on November 10, paused the forgiveness program, charging the executive with “unconstitutionally exercise[ing] ‘legislative powers’ vested in Congress.”

The case will now likely be heard by the Supreme Court, where the ruling is unpredictable, as noted by TIME. 

This was not the first litigation that has been brought against the Biden administration’s program, however.

In late September, for example, “Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed the first lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education regarding President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program,” as reported by Campus Reform

These legal battles are unlikely to dissuade the administration from continuing to try to push the forgiveness plan through, however, as it has been long in the making. 

[RELATED: PROF. GIORDANO: Student Loan Forgiveness, HEROES Act: How President Biden Undermines His Own Argument]

The plan was first introduced by Biden while he campaigned for President. After his election, he announced in August that up to $20,000 in student loans would be forgiven. 

The White House argued that its authority to forgive loans and bypass Congress lay in the HEROES Act, according to Brennan Center For Justice.  

The HEROES Act, however, is “a law to provide loan assistance to military personnel defending our nation [and] does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program,” Texas judge Mark Pittman wrote in his November decision. 

While legal challenges to Biden’s plan have forced the U.S. Department of Education not to accept applications for student loan forgiveness at this time, the administration paused repayment plans, allowing borrowers to continue to not pay back their loans. 

[RELATED: ELLWANGER: I am a professor still paying back student loans. Biden’s plan does not work.]

“Payments will resume either 60 days after June 30, 2023 or 60 days after the student loan forgiveness program has been allowed to move forward, whichever comes first,” Saving For College notes.   

The administration’s meddling with student loans comes at a time when Americans hold more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt, “with 42.8 million borrowers owing an average of $37,787 in federal student loans,” Yahoo! Finance reports.

The Center Square reported that some analysts believe that forgiving the loans, if only paid for through direct taxation, would mean transferring “$40 billion” onto the taxpayers and “significantly [increase] the deficit.”

Campus Reform will continue to track these updates.