Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted by a federal judge to put the nail in the coffin of President Joe Biden’s student debt transfer program, adding the program violates fundamental safeguards of liberty in the Constitution, adding Americans “are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone.”
Job Creators Network (JCN) filed one of the challenges to Biden’s $400 billion vote-buying program – which Tuesday’s election numbers from college town seems to indicate was a huge success in that regard, making voters ages 18–29 the only age bracket to shift in Democrats’ favor – that Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas struck down Thursday.
“The Constitution vests all legislative powers in Congress,” Pittman began, quoting Article I of the Constitution and Thomas Jefferson on the first page of his 26-page decision. The judge explained that the Constitution’s separation of powers, giving different powers to Congress, the president, and the courts, is foundational to the constitutional freedoms of American citizens.
On the very next page, the judge quoted Pelosi – who even after Tuesday’s disappointing GOP performance appears to be the outgoing Speaker – showcasing that even a liberal Democrat leader recognizes that the Constitution’s structural safeguards cannot be violated.
“People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness… He does not,” said Pelosi in July, dutifully quoted by the federal judge. The Speaker continued, “He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be [accomplished through] an act of Congress.”
A federal judge in Texas on Thursday declared President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program unlawful, dealing another blow to the Biden administration’s attempted wealth transfer. https://t.co/D6c7h2hiuo
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 11, 2022
This case is the latest in a series showing the Midas touch of D.C. legal power player Karen Harned, with her knack for picking top law firms to team up with for strategic litigation, first at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and now at JCN. She picked Jones Day partners Mike Carvin and Greg Katsas – now a judge on the D.C. Circuit appeals court and talked about for the Supreme Court – to team up with legal champion Paul Clement in the first Obamacare challenge, NFIB v. Sebelius. Most recently, she picked Scott Keller to challenge Biden’s employer Covid-19 vaccine mandate, which the Supreme Court struck down in NFIB v. OSHA.
Now at JCN, Harned tapped Michael Connelly of Consovoy McCarthy to tackle Biden’s transfer of student debt from college students to other Americans in Brown v. Department of Education. They brought the case in one of the most conservative judicial districts in America, the Northern District of Texas, where it will now go on appeal to the most conservative federal appeals court, the Fifth Circuit.
Pittman agreed with JCN’s arguments as to why the federal law did not give Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona the sweeping power they claimed, with Connelly specifically flagging Pelosi’s comments to the judge’s attention.
“Under our system of government, public policy is typically made by the Congress through a negotiated-and-reasoned process among the members, with input from the President,” Pittman explained, “and based on how Congress legislated, those members would then be held accountable by their constituents each election cycle.”
Pittman concluded his order by explaining the principles of constitutional government at stake in the litigation:
This case involves the question of whether Congress—through the HEROES Act—gave the Secretary authority to implement a Program that provides debt forgiveness to millions of student-loan borrowers, totaling over $400 billion. Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine. Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.
In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government. As President James Madison warned, “[t]he accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The Federalist No. 47.
The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved. And having interpreted the HEROES Act, the Court holds that it does not provide “clear congressional authorization” for the Program proposed by the Secretary.
The Biden administration will now appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The case is Brown v. U.S. Department of Education, No. 4:22-cv-908 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department.