A federal judge in Texas on Thursday struck down President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.
A lawsuit was filed in October by the Job Creators Network Foundation on behalf of two student loan borrowers, alleging that the Biden administration violated federal procedures because the public was not allowed to comment on the plan before it was announced.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee, said Biden encroached on congressional powers. "In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone," he wrote. "Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government. The court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved."
The Justice Department, which says Congress authorized presidents to manage student loans, has appealed the decision. In a statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden and his administration "are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents — backed by extreme Republican special interests — sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief."
Biden's plan would cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt from individual borrowers making less than $125,000 a year or married couples making less than $250,000 annually. Those who received federal Pell Grants are eligible for an additional $10,000 in forgiveness.
In October, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put the forgiveness plan on pause, after six states — Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, and South Carolina — filed a lawsuit to block the program.