President Joe Biden suffered another court setback on his student debt transfer program which multiple federal courts have blocked as illegal, as the Fifth Circuit federal appeals court denied the Justice Department’s motion seeking to stay a lower court judgment that had derailed the program last month.
Biden had announced he would cancel an estimated $400 billion in student debt, which instead of canceling the debt merely transfers it to tens of millions of other Americans to pay.
Breitbart News previously reported Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas held in November that Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona lacked the legal authority to do so.
The challenge was brought by the Job Creators Network, and its new litigation chief, Karen Harned.
The judge quoted Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s admitting that the president had no such power, adding that Americans “are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone.”
The Justice Department asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to grant a stay blocking the judge’s judgment and order for the purpose of restoring the program while the appeal is underway.
A stay would actually not have had that effect because another federal appeals court – the Eighth Circuit – has already held the program invalid, but a stay would have gotten the Education Department closer to its goal of resuming the debt transfer to Americans who do not have student loans, and would have reactivated the program if the administration could persuade the Supreme Court to stay the Eighth Circuit’s decision.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit – comprised of Bush 43 appointee Jennifer Elrod, Obama appointee James Graves, and Trump appointee James Ho – denied the motion for a stay, keeping in place Pittman’s order striking down Biden’s debt transfer. The New Orleans-based court also expedited the appeal, ordering it to be heard at the soonest available date after legal briefs are filed by both sides.
The case is Brown v. U.S. Department of Education, No. 22-11115 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department.