What's at Stake
This case concerns whether the Department of Education acted within its administrative authority in issuing its student-borrower debt relief plan.
Challengers allege that the Department of Education’s student-debt relief plan was adopted in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. The ACLU joined the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and 20 other organizations, urging the Court to uphold the student debt relief program as lawfully enacted.
Amici argue that the student debt relief program provides critical relief to millions of lower-income borrowers, including millions of Black and Latinx borrowers who have shouldered severe and disproportionate blows from COVID-19.
Consistent with the terms of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (“HEROES”) Act, the Secretary’s plan is a necessary step to prevent an unprecedented economic fallout that will devastate lower-income communities, disproportionately burdening communities of color who were hardest hit by the pandemic. The plan would make millions of lower-income borrowers eligible for relief, ensuring all individuals are in a fair position to recover from the pandemic’s long-term economic effects. Should the Court fail to affirm the legality of the debt relief plan, such a decision would compound existing racial disparities and inflict grave financial harm to all borrowers. but again, disproportionately borrowers of color.
In a 6-3 decision invoking its newly minted “major questions doctrine,” the Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration exceeded its statutory authority by seeking to cancel up to $400 billion in student loans, even though the statute allowed the President to “waive” terms in the loan contracts.
Amicus Brief of the ACLU, et al.