A conservative group just asked the Supreme Court to block Biden's student-loan forgiveness, saying it is 'critical' the relief is halted this week

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  • A Wisconsin conservative group is asking SCOTUS to block Biden's student-debt relief.

  • This comes after a federal judge already struck down the lawsuit, saying the group does not have standing.

  • The group argued that the loan forgiveness has an "improper racial motive" and is unconstitutional.

A conservative taxpayers group wants President Joe Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan blocked as soon as possible — and it's taking matters to the Supreme Court.

The Brown County Taxpayers Association in Wisconsin filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, asking to temporarily pause Biden's student-debt relief plan before Sunday, when the group expects the administration to start officially canceling borrowers' debt.

The conservative group, represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), initially filed a lawsuit against the debt relief on October 4, arguing that it has an "improper racial motive" by seeking to help Black borrowers and advance racial equity. It said Biden exceeded his constitutional power by enacting the loan relief without congressional approval. Two days later, a federal judge tossed out the lawsuit.

While that decision is being appealed, the group is now escalating the issue to the Supreme Court in an effort to block Biden's plan from taking effect.

"The assault on our separation of powers—and upon the principle that the spending power is vested solely in Congress—is extraordinary, and perhaps unprecedented," lawyers representing the group wrote in a brief to the court.

"It is critical that the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the President's unconstitutional student loan relief plan before Sunday, when the loan forgiveness could start," WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said in a statement. "WILL is proud to represent American taxpayers, and to bring the first claim to be submitted to SCOTUS."

The Sunday deadline refers to a previous court filing from Biden's administration that noted no student debt would be canceled before October 23. The group is asking the Supreme Court to respond to two questions surrounding the legality of loan forgiveness: whether a taxpayer can sue in federal court to prevent the overreach of constitutional spending power, and whether the HEROES Act permits broad debt relief for millions of Americans.

The HEROES Act has been widely debated even before Biden announced debt relief. While his administration said it gives the Education Secretary the authority to modify or waive student loan balances in connection with a national emergency, like COVID-19, many conservatives have claimed Biden's policy is an overreach of that authority.

At least six major conservative groups have filed lawsuits seeking to halt Biden's student-debt relief, and while federal judges have struck down at least two of them so far, borrowers are still awaiting a decision from a federal judge who heard arguments last week from six Republican-led states who sought to block the loan forgiveness, arguing the relief would hurt their states' tax revenues, among other things.

The emergency filing also comes just days after Biden officially launched the student-loan forgiveness application. During Monday remarks, Biden noted that 8 million borrowers had already applied for relief through the simple form that takes just minutes to fill out, only requiring basic information like a borrower's email address and Social Security number.

The emergency request was filed to Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who handles matters coming from Wisconsin. She can decide to respond to the request on her own or refer the issue to the full nine-member court.

For now, the Biden administration is moving forwarding with the debt relief application process and recommends that borrowers submit their forms before mid-November to ensure the debt cancellation will be processed before payments resume in January.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that the Brown County Taxpayers Association is appealing a federal judge's decision to throw out the original lawsuit, in addition to asking the Supreme Court to weigh in and block Biden's forgiveness plan.

Read the original article on Business Insider