Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Nebraska v. Biden and struck down President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers. The program, announced in August 2022, aimed to provide student loan forgiveness to address the financial harms caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the decision, Earthjustice Senior Vice President of Programs Sambhav Sankar issued the following statement:
“The financial hardship the Supreme Court has just imposed on millions of Americans is bad enough. But the six conservative Justices who took that step today twisted the knife by once again embracing the so-called ‘major questions doctrine.’
“The major questions doctrine encourages judges to strike down regulations and presidential actions that have substantial impacts by creatively reading Congress’ laws to foreclose them. As Justice Kagan explains in dissent, this rule gives courts a weapon to trump complex policy decisions made by the political branches when judges disagree with them.
“Last year, the Court wrote its policy views into law by restricting the political branches’ ability to address climate change. A few weeks ago, it came after federal power to clean up our waterways. And now its target is student loan forgiveness. The Supreme Court invented the major questions doctrine to turn conservative courts into policymaking bodies. This is not how our government should work.”