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Federal judge dismisses Wisconsin lawsuit that sought to block Biden’s student debt cancellation

A Green Bay judge quickly tossed the suit, arguing the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue in federal court

President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness
President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 24, 2022, in Washington. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona listens at right. Evan Vucci, AP File Photo

A judge in Wisconsin has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the Biden administration’s student debt cancelation plan just two days after the suit was filed in federal court.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, or WILL, brought the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association. WILL argued taxpayers would be harmed by being forced to shoulder the costs of the U.S. Department of Education’s plan to cancel some federal student loan debt.

But Judge William Griesbach of the Green Bay Division of U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of Wisconsin questioned whether the plaintiffs had made a sufficient case that the program would cause them “irreparable harm” and wrote in his order Thursday that the principle of “taxpayer standing” wasn’t sufficient to establish jurisdiction in federal court.

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WILL promised to appeal Griesbach’s decision.

“This is an extraordinary case based on an extraordinary claim of executive power by the President,” WILL Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington said in a statement. “This case was always destined to be decided by higher courts, and we will continue the fight to the Court of Appeals and then the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

Several other lawsuits against the debt relief plan are still pending as conservatives try to halt the Biden administration’s plan, which would allow borrowers making less than $125,000 a year to have up to $10,000 in federal student loans canceled. Borrowers who received Pell grants, available to low-income families, could have up to $20,000 canceled.

Department of Education officials have said that applications for loan forgiveness should open this month.