U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Enjoins Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Plan
Earlier today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted an emergency motion for a nationwide injunction pending appeal filed by several red states that blocks the federal government from moving forward with President Biden’s student loan forgiveness policy. The brief per curiam opinion was joined by Judges Shepherd, Erickson, and Grasz.
This is a significant ruling in what is likely the most serious legal challenge filed against the BIden initiative. Among other things, the argument for Article III standing, which is based upon the impact of harm to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) on the state of Missouri, appears to be significantly stronger and more substantial than the arguments for standing put forward in other cases.
I’ve linked to the opinion above and will reproduce below the jump.
Whatever the eventual outcome of this case, it will affect the finances of millions of Americans with student loan debt as well as those Americans who pay taxes to finance the government and indeed everyone who is affected by such farreaching fiscal decisions. As such, we approach the motion before us with great care.
This case centers on the plaintiff States’ request to preliminarily enjoin the United States Secretary of Education (“Secretary”) from implementing a plan to discharge student loan debt under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-76, 117 Stat. 904 (codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1098aa–1098ee) (“HEROES Act”). See Federal Student Aid Programs (Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program), 87 Fed. Reg. 61,512, 61,514 (Oct. 12, 2022) (to be codified at 34 C.F.R. pts. 674, 682, 685). The States contend the student loan debt relief plan contravenes the separation of powers and violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it exceeds the Secretary’s authority and is arbitrary and capricious.
The district court denied the States’ motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction after determining none of the States had standing to bring the lawsuit. Key to the district court’s rationale was its conclusion that the State of Missouri could not rely on any harm the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (“MOHELA”) might suffer on account of the Secretary’s cancellation of debt. The States appealed and moved for a preliminary injunction pending appeal. We grant the motion for the following reasons.
“In ruling on a request for an injunction pending appeal, the court must engage in the same inquiry as when it reviews the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction.” Walker v. Lockhart, 678 F.2d 68, 70 (8th Cir. 1982). This inquiry includes “balancing the equities between the parties.” Id. We ask “whether the balance of equities so favors the movant that justice requires the court to intervene to preserve the status quo until the merits are determined.” Glenwood Bridge, Inc. v. City of Minneapolis, 940 F.2d 367, 370 (8th Cir. 1991) (quoting Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640
Article from Reason.com