Student Loan Forgiveness Coming to SCOTUS February 28

I was catching up with what is going on in the courts. Went to my favorite reference point which involves the ABA and what Lawyer Erwin Chemerinsky thinks. Some commentary on Student Loan forgiveness. SCOTUS will decide if states are suffering from forgiveness of loans. If they collect nothing, which will be the issue, then what is the problem?


The State of Texas filed suit in their favorite pick-of-the-day federal court. Filing in Northern District of Texas against the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. And arguing the, the ACA’s minimum essential coverage requirement became unconstitutional when Congress set the monetary penalty for failure to obtain coverage to $0 in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Texas claims it suffers injury by this. The District Court found the individual plaintiffs (states) had standing.

In California v. Texas on the same issue: the Supreme Court Finds No Standing for Plaintiffs to Challenge ACA Minimum Essential Coverage Provision,, Hillary Webb, Slevin & Hart P. June 17, 2021.

The Supreme Court further rejected the plaintiffs’ (Texas) claim to Article III standing based on their failure to meet the “case-or-controversy” requirement. The Court described this requirement to mean that the dispute, at a minimum, must be “real and substantial” and “admit of specific relief through a decree of a conclusive character, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts.” According to the majority, there was no case or controversy, because the plaintiffs could not obtain damages, nor would they have been able to seek such an injunction because the provision at issue was not enforceable. The majority opined that to find standing to attach to an unenforceable statutory provision would amount to “an advisory opinion without the possibility of any judicial relief,” which would have practical implications. The Court, therefore, held that the individual plaintiffs did not have standing.

That is in the past and I am using it as an example as I believe similar may happen here.

When can state governments sue the United States?,

A central issue in Biden v. Nebraska, on Feb. 28, is whether state governments have standing to challenge President Biden’s relief for some student loan borrowers. In August 2022, Biden announced student loan relief pursuant to a federal statute, the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, or Heroes Act, which permits the federal government to make changes to student-loan programs to respond to national emergencies.

Six states brought a lawsuit challenging this. The federal court dismissed the case, concluding that the states failed to show an injury sufficient for standing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed, allowing standing and granting a preliminary injunction. A central question before the court is what a state must demonstrate in order to show an injury sufficient for standing.

The court also allows review in another case on Feb. 28. This is about whether two student-loan borrowers have Article III standing to challenge the Department of Education’s student-debt relief plan. If so, whether the department’s plan is statutorily authorized and was adopted in a procedurally proper manner. Central to both of these cases is who has standing to sue to challenge such a change in federal policy that provides a benefit to some individuals.


A recurring issue before the Supreme Court this term concerns when state governments have standing to sue the United States. Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of such suits. Two cases to be argued in the next month bring to court such issues in their filings.,

Politics were playing a part. During the Trump presidency, the suits were by states with Democratic leadership. Linda Greenhouse, in a recent book, observed that “during the Trump years, Democratic state attorneys general filed more than one hundred lawsuits against the administration, seeking to block new policies or prevent the rollback of existing ones.”

Now it is Republican governors and attorneys general challenging Biden administration policies. That is the context of the cases this term in the Supreme Court.

The law is firmly established. In order for any plaintiff to have standing must allege and prove that it has been or imminently will suffer injury. The harm by the defendant, and the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable federal court decision.

The underlying question is what a state government must show in order to demonstrate it has an injury sufficient for standing to sue in federal court to challenge executive actions. And ultimately the issue is what role the federal courts should play in these highly political lawsuits pitting the White House against state governments controlled by the other political party.

This is not a new issue. In 2007 and in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, the court held that Massachusetts had standing to sue the EPA for failing to adequately deal with the problem of climate change. In Department of Commerce v. New York. In 2019, the court allowed states to challenge the Trump administration’s choice to include a question about citizenship on census forms. More recently in 2021, California v. Texas, the Supreme Court held that Texas and other states lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They could not show they were injured.

What is notable this term is simply the number of cases that raise this question of whether states should be able to challenge federal policy and whether the court will adopt clearer rules as to when such suits are permissible.

The question here is do states suffer harm if student loans are forgiven. What will the harm be? My opinion is “none. “This is all about, I did it and you can too. Except, my $5,000 Masters in Economics out of Loyola is now $85,000. A comparison to other schools renders a bargain.

Thats all . . . (In my best The Devil Wore Prada imitation)

How should economists criticize Biden’s actions on student loans? Angry Bear, Eric Kramer..

History of Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy, Angry Bear.