“an administrative stay prohibiting the [federal government] from discharging any student loan debt under the Cancellation program until this Court rules on the appellants’ motion for an injunction pending appeal is granted.”
Challengers to Joe Biden’s midterms-driven student loan forgiveness, estimated to cost over $400 billion, have run into a roadblock as to whether they have “standing” to sue.
The Nebraska and several other states brought suit for an injunction in the District Court of Nebraska, but on October 20, 2022, the motion was denied for lack of standing (emphasis added):
Because Plaintiff States – Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina – have failed to establish Article III standing, the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this case. It should be emphasized that “standing in no way depends upon the merits of the Plaintiff[s’] contention that the particular conduct is illegal.” Warth, 422 U.S. at 500. While Plaintiffs present important and significant challenges to the debt relief plan, the current Plaintiffs are unable to proceed to the resolution of these challenges. “Standing is a threshold inquiry; it requires focus on the part[ies] seeking to have [their] complaint heard in a federal court, and it eschews evaluation of the merits. The court is not to consider the weight or significance of the alleged injury, only whether it exists.” Coalition for the Environment v. Volpe, 504 F.2d 156, 168 (8th Cir. 1974) (emphasis added).
The District Court judge denied a request for a stay pending the 8th Circuit deciding whether to grant a stay.
Earlier today the states filed an Emergency Motion for Injunction Pending Appeal:
The Supreme Court just warned federal agencies against “asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted.” West Virginia v. EPA, 142 S. Ct. 2587, 2609 (2022). Yet the Biden Administration is doing exactly that through its Mass Debt Cancellation, which will erase over $400 billion of the $1.6 trillion in outstanding federal student loan debt. The statute on which the Administration relies—the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act (HEROES Act)—does not empower the Department of Education or its Secretary to decree the Cancellation. This agency action thus exceeds the Administration’s authority, violates the separation of powers, and is hopelessly arbitrary.
This Court should enter an injunction pending appeal because the States have standing, are facing irreparable harm, and are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims. In contrast, no borrower will be disadvantaged by interim relief because loan repayments and interest accruals are paused, and the Department can continue that forbearance while this appeal is pending.
The states also filed an Emergency Motion for an Administrative Stay. An administrative stay is a lower hurdle than a regular stay, it basically is just a temporary administrative mechanism to put an imminent challenged action on hold until the court can get briefing and consider it. To put it somewhat sarcastically, in an emergency situation it prevents the appeals court judges from having to do work over the weekend. Here, since the loan forgiveness kicks in as early as Sunday, October 23, action was needed this weekend.
Because the district court erred in dismissing the States’ case and declining to enjoin the unlawful Cancellation program, the States have filed a motion for an injunction pending appeal concurrently with this motion. But Defendants-Appellees Joseph R. Biden, in his official capacity as the President of the United States; Miguel Cardona, in his official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Education (the Secretary); and the United States Department of Education (the Department) (collectively the “Administration”) say that they will start cancelling student loan debt under the program as early as October 23, which is just two days away. See R. Doc. 27-1, at 4, ¶5. To ensure that does not happen before this Court can consider the States’ motion for an injunction pending appeal, the States respectfully request that, by 9:00 AM Central Saturday October 22, the Court temporarily stay the Administration from discharging any student loan debt under the Cancellation program until this Court rules on that motion. See Fed. R. App. P. 27(a)(1). The States also ask the Court to set an expedited briefing schedule on the motion for an injunction pending appeal. The States have asked the Administration for its position on these requests, but as of the time of this filing, they have not received a response.
The 8th Circuit late today entered an Order granting the administrative stay, with briefing to be concluded by Tuesday, October 25.
Appellants’ emergency motion for an administrative stay prohibiting the appellees from discharging any student loan debt under the Cancellation program until this Court rules on the appellants’ motion for an injunction pending appeal is granted.
The request for expedited briefing on the motion for an injunction pending appeal is granted as follows: Appellees’ response in opposition shall be due on or before 5:00 PM Central, Monday, October 24, 2022 and the Appellants’ reply, if any, is due on or before 5:00 PM Central, Tuesday, October 25, 2022.
I wouldn’t read too much into the administrative stay, it’s not on the merits, But, that said, there can be a certain momentum in fact that develops once an action is put on hold that carries over into the briefing on the merits.DONATE
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