Lawsuit filed by red states against student debt relief dismissed

On Thursday, a federal court in Missouri dismissed a lawsuit filed by several Republican states to stop President Joe Biden’s student loan reduction proposal.

When Biden announced his student loan reduction plan a couple of weeks ago reaction was swift. Six states, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina filed suit on the grounds that the action would violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Judge Henry Edward Autrey, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled that the states failed to specify the kind of harm required for their legal challenge and thus had no standing to sue. This does not serve as a ruling on the challenge itself but the standing of the parties bringing the suit.

“Because Plaintiff States – Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina – have failed to establish Article III standing, the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this case. It should be emphasized that “standing in no way depends upon the merits of the Plaintiff[s’] contention that the particular conduct is illegal,” wrote Autrey in a 19-page decision.

Biden’s debt reduction plan calls for forgiveness of up $10,000 for student loan holders and up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants.  

The states are expected to appeal. There are several more legal challenges to the plan making their way through the courts.

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