Republicans mull legal ways to stop Biden’s ‘Robin Hood in reverse’ student loan scheme in its tracks

Republicans on the state and national level are reportedly preparing to mount a legal offensive against President Joe Biden’s “Robin Hood in reverse” loan forgiveness executive order.

“Republican state attorneys general and other leading conservatives are exploring a slew of potential lawsuits targeting President Biden’s plan to cancel some student debt — challenges that could limit or invalidate the policy before it takes full effect,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.

“In recent days, a number of GOP attorneys general from states including Arizona, Missouri and Texas have met privately to discuss a strategy that could see multiple cases filed in different courts around the country, according to a person familiar with their thinking who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the confidential talks.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was the only AG who provided confirmation.

“We’re going through that analysis right now, not only in Arizona but other states. You have a dangerous precedent. Any time any president thinks they can unilaterally dismiss debt or transfer wealth from one group to another group, it’s a huge power grab. The ends can’t justify the means,” he said in a statement to the Post.

Additional anonymous sources claimed that Sen. Ted Cruz and the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank are also planning something but stressed that it’s all tentative at the moment and a final decision has yet to be reached.

“The conservative public interest law firms in our network are exploring filing lawsuits against this. They are doing background legal research, trying to find out who might be the most suitable clients for them,” John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation told the Post.

“They have to find a client with the standing and the gumption to take on a lawsuit. There are several groups in our network who are exploring that right now.”

Therein lies the dilemma facing these groups. During an interview with journalist Liz Wheeler earlier this week, Cruz explained that filing a case against the president’s executive order isn’t as simple as it may sound.

“The courts have a long-standing doctrine that there is not taxpayer standing, that you and I can’t file a lawsuit saying the government is spending on something that’s illegal and I pay taxes, so don’t do that,” he said.

“So as a general matter, just being a taxpayer is not sufficient for the courts to conclude you have standing to challenge an expenditure of funds,” Cruz added.

To file a legitimate lawsuit, Republicans must instead find an eligible plaintiff who’s been “harmed by the expenditure of funds.”

“You could try to find someone with student loans who made $130,000 a year, and so who was ineligible because the cutoff was $125,000. And you could argue that they’re harmed by a differential and illegal benefit being given to someone similarly situated to them by forgiving the person’s loans with $125,000 but not forgiving the person’s loans with $130,000,” the senator explained.

“There’s a second way you could try to do it, which is you could try to bring a lawsuit on behalf of a current student, and you could argue that the inevitable effect of this forgiveness will be to cause universities to jack up their tuition even further and to raise the cost of education.”

Neither method is foolproof.

As previously reported, the president’s executive order to forgive an estimated $500 billion total in student loan debt has triggered massive criticism, even from some left-wing voices.

The criticism revolves mainly around the fact that the student loan forgiveness will mostly benefit the wealthy at the expense of working-class Americans who either paid off their student loans or never attended college in the first place.

Writing for the Daily Mail, Inez Stepman of the Independent Women’s Forum said the president’s executive order is basically “Robin Hood in reverse.”

“President Biden has characterized this bailout as a lifeline to those struggling financially. Wrong again. It’s Robin Hood in reverse: It robs from the poor and gives to the rich. And aren’t Democrats always harping on about how the rich already have too much?” she wrote in a column Thursday.

“Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan is not about fairness or the American dream or campaign pledges. It’s about rewarding Democrats’ key constituencies: the upper middle class and universities operating as essential training grounds for the left’s cultural revolution. It’s that simple. And cynical.”

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Vivek Saxena

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