Justice Department signals it plans to ask the Supreme Court to reinstate Biden’s student debt relief program

The Justice Department indicated in a court filing Thursday that it plans to ask the Supreme Court to reinstate the Biden administration’s student debt relief program.

“The government will be filing an application with the Supreme Court to vacate a separate injunction against the Secretary’s action entered by the Eighth Circuit earlier this week,” the DOJ said in the filing with US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which the administration asked to pause a lower court judge’s ruling striking down the policy.

In addition to that lower court decision, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the policy Monday.

DOJ signaled in the new filing that it may appeal both cases to the Supreme Court.

“We are confident in our legal authority to carry out this program, and will be taking this fight to the Supreme Court so that borrowers can get the clarity and relief they deserve quickly,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said in a statement. “President Biden will never stop fighting to deliver relief to working and middle class Americans.”

The Biden administration has faced several legal challenges to the student loan forgiveness program since it was announced in August, and court action will have to play out before the it can cancel any federal student loan debt under the program.

Under the rules of the program, eligible low- and middle-income borrowers can receive up to $10,000 of federal student loan forgiveness and up to $20,000 in cancellation if they also received a Pell grant while enrolled in college.

The legal road ahead is murky, but it could take many months for the issue to be resolved.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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