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Schumer hopes to see student loan forgiveness follow through, Supreme Court seems unlikely to

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he supports Biden's plan and hopes to see it followed through.

"Some attorneys general from some states that don't like it have gone to court," Schumer said. "I'm hopeful that the court will find they don't have standing to sue because they weren't the ones injured. We'll see what happens."

The Court heard two cases: one brought by a number of states and led by Republican attorneys general and the other on behalf of two individuals.

Michael Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell, said there's a question of legal standing of the plaintiffs. He said the student case, Department of Education v Brown, has weaker standing. In the state's case, Biden v. Nebraska, he said Missouri has the closest thing to legally recognizable injury — as its state corporation MOHELA processes student loans.

"The argument here is that MOHELA suffers an economic injury because with less debt outstanding. It makes less in fees from processing with student loans, and therefore there's less money for the State."

The three Democratic appointees seem likely to vote with the Administration either on that there is no standing, the program is valid or both. Dorf said the Republican appointees did not seem sympathetic to the Administration's argument on the merits.

"Justice Barrett did seem sympathetic to the argument that there isn't standing," Dorf said. "If she were to say, 'There's no standing,' then she wouldn't reach the merits, but that only gets you to four votes to uphold the program."

Dorf expects the court will strike down this version of the student loan forgiveness program.

"I expect at that point that the Biden Administration will feel itself under some political pressure to try to replace it with something," Dorf said. "The other possible statutory authority requires a somewhat lengthier process. While that's going on. it's very, very likely that people will have to be paying back their loans."

Payments on student loans will resume 60 days after the Court's decision or June 30 — whichever comes first.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.