Sotomayor Takes on the Fairness Issue

  • SCOTUS Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned efforts to repeal Biden’s student amnesty plan on Tuesday.
  • Sotomayor is one of the few justices to push back on standard GOP arguments about the program’s “fairness.”
  • Sotomayor was joined by Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan, and Amy Coney Barrett in reviewing the status of the impeachment cases.

Liberal US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected conservative arguments against President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on Tuesday, urging the justices to think about the tens of millions of affected students.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard more than four hours of oral arguments related to two related lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s program to cancel up to $20,000 in loans for federal taxpayers. borrower.

The justices heard a case brought by Republican-led states that argued the debt relief would hurt their state’s tax revenues, and later chose a case brought by two loan defaulters. to the student plaintiff because they did not qualify for the full $20,000 loan amount. comfort.

Conservative justices appeared to question the legality of Biden’s plan in their lines of questioning, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch bringing up the issue of reasonableness regarding the granting of student loan debt to some, but not at all.

“I think it’s worth considering some of the fairness arguments,” said Roberts, who also asked Gorsuch what the plan would “cost” “in terms of fairness” to people who have paid off their loans. which is not taken. loans, or who did not qualify for loans in the first place.

But Sotomayor challenged that argument. When Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar was asked, on behalf of Biden, about the scope of the debt relief plan, Sotomayor asked: “I took your answer in line, everyone is suffering from the pandemic, but different people are getting different benefits because they qualify. under different programs, right?”

“There’s inherent unfairness in society because we’re not a society of unlimited resources. Every law has people who encompass it or people outside it,” Sotomayor said, adding that “that’s not an issue of fairness. It’s an issue what the law is. protect or not.”

Before the arguments, Republican lawmakers also made their voices heard on the fairness issue. GOP Sen. Rick Scott WRITES on Twitter: I think it is unfair to make you pay the debts of a small percentage of Americans who chose to take student loans. Isn’t it?”

It’s unclear where the conservative-majority court will lean. Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined liberal justices in challenging the stance in both cases, but the vote of one more conservative justice was needed to support Biden’s debt relief plan.

Still, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona expressed confidence that the plan will prevail after the arguments.

“The Justice Department has argued against lawsuits aimed at denying borrowers relief, explaining that challengers to the program lack standing to bring their cases to court, and citing the Department’s decades-old authority of Education used by many administrations to protect borrowers from the effects of national emergencies,” Cardona said in a statement.

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