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SC leaders applaud Supreme Court’s student loan decision

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Palmetto State leaders applauded the decision by the court to strike down the Biden Administration's student loan forgiveness plan.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Lawmakers, leaders and hopefuls from across the Palmetto State on Friday were quick to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision to block President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

The 6-3 decision, with conservative justices in the majority, said the Biden administration overstepped its authority with the plan, and it leaves borrowers on the hook for repayments that are expected to resume in the fall.

The court held that the administration needed Congress’ endorsement before undertaking so costly a program. The majority rejected arguments that a bipartisan 2003 law dealing with national emergencies, known as the HEROES Act, gave Biden the power he claimed.

“Six States sued, arguing that the HEROES Act does not authorize the loan cancellation plan. We agree,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court.

South Carolina was one of the states that sued to block the student loan cancelation.

Attorney General Alan Wilson applauded the court’s decision on Friday.

“I’m pleased the Court agrees with our position that Joe Biden does not have the authority to cancel and ignore debt,” Wilson said. “He knew Congress was the only body with the power to do so, but when they didn’t do what he wanted, he took matters into his own hands to unlawfully deliver on a campaign promise,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson. “Legal issues aside, forgiving student loans is a poor policy decision with unfair and long-lasting consequences. But when the federal government acts outside its powers to promote its own agenda, I’ll be there to fight back.”

Others in support of the decision included Republican presidential hopefuls Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.

Both used their platforms to call the decision a win for those who chose to take a path different from those who went to college.

“A president cannot just wave his hand and eliminate loans for students he favors, while leaving out all those who worked hard to pay back their loans or made other career choices,” Haley said. “The Supreme Court was right to throw out Joe Biden’s power grab.”

Scott said the United States needed more welders, carpenters and electricians.

“College isn’t the only path to the American dream, and it’s time for a president who values hard work and the people who do it,” Scott said.

Justice Elena Kagan, wrote in a dissent, joined by the court’s two other liberals, that the majority of the court “overrides the combined judgment of the Legislative and Executive Branches, with the consequence of eliminating loan forgiveness for 43 million Americans.” Kagan read a summary of her dissent in court to emphasize her disagreement.

Roberts, perhaps anticipating negative public reaction and aware of declining approval of the court, added an unusual coda to his opinion, cautioning that the liberals’ dissent should not be mistaken for disparagement of the court itself. “It is important that the public not be misled either. Any such misperception would be harmful to this institution and our country,” the chief justice wrote.

Governor Henry McMaster praised the court calling student loan forgiveness a scheme and a “ridiculous pander to the radical left.”

“The Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness scheme was a ridiculous pander to the radical left and an insult to Americans who work hard, pay their bills, and play by the rules,” McMaster said. “Thank goodness we have a Supreme Court that defends the Rule of Law and common sense.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he’s never been prouder of the “Roberts Court.”

“The decision to strike down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness idea was a necessary check on an out of control executive who clearly disregarded the law in order to achieve a political result,” Graham said. “The Biden Administration was unilaterally trying to forgive student loan debt with no sound legal basis. The idea was all politics and the Court was right to slam dunk the Biden Administration’s overreach. It’s good to know that hard working Americans will not be forced to pay for student loans they did not take out.”

Loan repayments will resume in October, although interest will begin accruing in September, the Education Department has announced. Payments have been on hold since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than three years ago.

The forgiveness program would have canceled $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 or households with less than $250,000 in income. Pell Grant recipients, who typically demonstrate more financial need, would have had an additional $10,000 in debt forgiven.

Twenty-six million people had applied for relief and 43 million would have been eligible, the administration said.

The cost was estimated at $400 billion over 30 years.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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