July 3, 2023

Down Goes Biden’s Student Loan Bribe

In a resounding 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court correctly checked the president’s attempt to do an end-run around Congress.

“Disappointing and cruel” is how Senate Majority Leader Chuck-U Schumer characterized the Supreme Court’s 6-3 thumping of Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness scheme.

It could’ve been worse, though — a lot worse. After all, he could’ve called Friday’s much-anticipated decision a dagger to the heart of our democracy.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, responding to Dagger Chuck’s outrage, put it this way: “The court’s ‘cruelty’ was in supporting Congress’s core constitutional power of the purse. Schumer’s disappointment in having to address and vote on the forgiveness of hundreds of billions of dollars in loans speaks volumes about the collapse of our constitutional values.”

What’s remarkable is that this naked vote-buying scheme ever cluttered up the Supreme Court’s docket. As National Review’s editorial board noted: “When President Biden entered office, the fact that he didn’t have the authority to unilaterally cancel student loans was so uncontroversial that even Nancy Pelosi acknowledged it. ‘People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness,’ the then–House speaker said at a press conference in July 2021. ‘He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress.’”

NR’s editorial board continued: “At stake in the cases challenging the student-loan-forgiveness program was not merely whether his action was unconstitutional, but whether the president could get away with a usurpation of congressional power by broadly doling out benefits without producing a legally injured party. Put more bluntly, the question was, could Biden hack the U.S. Constitution? In a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that he could not.”

The real marvel here is that three justices countenanced Biden’s lawless behavior.

In order to get to where we’d gotten before the Supreme Court put all this to rest, the government had argued, absurdly, that the 2003 HEROES Act (passed in the wake of 9/11 to help student borrowers who were serving in the military) provided broad authority to the administration to wipe away debt during all national emergencies.

As the Court ruled, a minor tweak to the HEROES ACT wasn’t remotely akin to Joe Biden’s wholesale attempt to remake our nation’s student loan compact. Try as he might, the president can’t nullify Congress, can’t usurp its constitutional authority to write the laws under Article I.

Nevertheless, Biden vowed, “I will stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief.”

What he meant was, I will stop at nothing to buy votes. Because that’s what he was trying to do. Here, we actually believe him. Because who now would vote for Joe Biden unless he was bribed to do so?

In his response to the Court’s beat-down, Biden declared that “the hypocrisy is stunning” and that the justices had “misinterpreted the Constitution.” (Yes, Joe Biden, the guy who graduated 76th out of 85 at Syracuse Law School, actually deigned to question the constitutional acumen of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.)

To illustrate just how pathetically weak was the state’s case for the constitutionality of loan forgiveness, we give you the normally intelligent Elena Kagan, who, in her dissent, was reduced to arguing that “the result here is that the Court substitutes itself for Congress and the Executive Branch in making national policy about student-loan forgiveness.”

Huh? While it’s true that Biden once claimed to have gotten student loan forgiveness “passed by a vote or two,” the truth is that Congress rejected his wildly unpopular vote-buying scheme.

The reality, as NR points out, is that Biden “unilaterally tried to create a nearly half-trillion-dollar federal program that did not have the votes to make it through Congress, and the Court stopped him from breaking the law.”

What we can expect between now and November 2024 is a repeated recitation of the Supreme Court’s radical right decisions — whether on student loan forgiveness, or affirmative action, or abortion, or freedom of speech, or religious liberty, or states’ rights, or anything else that doesn’t sit well with the Left.

“This decision was calculated by Biden as part of the Demos’ 2024 strategy,” argues our Mark Alexander. “Clearly it was going to be overturned, clearly he knew that, and clearly the ‘work around’ strategy he is now proposing is to keep the issue in front of voters through 2024. This is all a calculated political charade to buy votes of those with loans, and by extension the families of those with loans.”

Elections have consequences. And were it not for Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court picks during his single term in office, the Supreme Court decisions we’ve seen during the past week would’ve been radically different.

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