Biden's student loan forgiveness challenged in Wisconsin court

Suit argues the president overstepped his powers with his order that could cost over $1 trillion.

Updated: October 5, 2022 - 7:59am

A lawsuit in Wisconsin challenges President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel student loans.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on Tuesday filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayer Association that argues the president overstepped his powers with his order that could cost over $1 trillion.

“The problem is, for purposes of this lawsuit, that President Biden created this program unilaterally and without any legal authority from Congress. That’s not how lawmaking works in America, at least since the signing of the Declaration of Independence,” WILL’s lawsuit reads.

WILL is asking for a judge to immediately block the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan, which could start canceling debts any day now.

The president’s plan would erase $10,000 of student loan debt for anyone making under $125,000 a year, and $20,000 in debt for anyone who received a Pell Grant while in college. Last week, the Biden administration clarified that only people with loans held by private lenders will not qualify for the cancelation plan.

WILL accuses the Biden administration of discrimination.

“[The administration] created the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan with the express purpose of advancing ‘racial equity’,” the lawsuit says. “Explaining that the purpose of the program is to ‘narrow the racial wealth gap,’ the White House explained that the program is intended to help ‘black students,’ ‘black borrowers,’ and ‘other borrowers of color.’”

WILL said adding a racial motivation to the loan cancelation program violates federal equal protection and anti-descrimination laws.

The lawsuit also argues that President Biden is violating the separation of powers because only Congress can erase federally-backed student loans.

“Officials from the previous two administrations have determined that the President does not have the power to forgive student loans in this manner,” WILL writes in its court filing.

WILL’s lawsuit is the latest, but not likely the last, legal challenge to the president’s plan.

The student loan lawsuit is also only the latest, but not likely the last, lawsuit from WILL against the Biden administration.

WILL has challenged a handful of the president’s plans, including loans for farmers based on race. WILL won that case.