The Fifth Circuit federal appeals court denied the Department of Justice’s motion to stay a lower court judgment that had derailed the student debt transfer program last month, handing President Joe Biden yet another legal setback on his proposal, which has been blocked as illegal by multiple federal courts.
Biden declared that he would forgive an estimated $400 billion in student debt, while just transferring the burden to tens of millions of other Americans.
According to Breitbart News, Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas ruled in November that Biden and Miguel Cardona, the Education Secretary, did not have the legal authority to do so.
The Job Creators Network and the group’s litigation chief, Karen Harned, filed the suit.
The judge referred to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s admission that the president lacked such authority. He also said Americans “are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone.”
The Department of Justice asked the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a stay of the judge’s ruling and to let the program resume while the appeal is heard.
Because the program has already been found illegal by another federal appeals court, the Eighth Circuit, a stay would have had no impact. It would, however, have pushed the Education Department one step closer to beginning debt transfers to Americans who do not have student loans. It would have also revived the program if the administration had been successful in convincing the Supreme Court to stay the Eighth Circuit’s judgment.
The motion for a stay was refused by a three-judge Fifth Circuit panel consisting of Bush 43 appointee Jennifer Elrod, Obama appointee James Graves, and Trump appointee James Ho, affirming Pittman’s ruling striking down Biden’s debt transfer. The court in New Orleans also ordered that the appeal be considered as soon as possible after both parties filed legal arguments.