Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday denied an emergency bid by a group of Wisconsin taxpayers to block the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program.
Barrett, who handles emergency matters arising from Wisconsin, acted alone in denying the request, rather than refer the matter to the full court.
The brief, one-line order comes after the Brown County Taxpayers Association on Wednesday urged the court to rule that the president’s nationwide debt cancellation plan illegally encroaches on Congress’s exclusive spending power.
The move leaves intact a judge’s finding that the group lacked standing to sue, a ruling that is being appealed in a lower court.
President Biden announced in August that his administration planned to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those making under $125,000 annually and $20,000 for recipients of Pell grants, which assist students from lower-income families.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month, the Wisconsin taxpayers argued that the White House lacks the constitutional power or clear authorization from Congress to enact Biden’s debt cancellation policy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost about $400 billion over 30 years.
A U.S. District judge in Wisconsin dismissed the suit for lack of standing. An intermediate appeals court declined to halt that ruling while a formal appeal plays out, prompting the group’s unsuccessful request to the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration says its policy is authorized by the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, which the Trump administration also drew upon to provide relief to student borrowers during the pandemic.
Updated at 5:25 p.m.