Wisconsin Spotlight | Oct. 20, 2022
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — With President Joe Biden’s student loan bailout set to go into effect
as soon as Sunday, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is asking the U.S.
Supreme Court to temporarily block the big government program.
On Wednesday, WILL filed an emergency motion on behalf of the Brown County
Taxpayers Association. It’s the first such lawsuit to have reached the high court. If
successful, WILL’s latest action, an emergency application for writ of
injunction, will temporarily halt the program while lower courts consider its
“It is critical that the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the President’s
unconstitutional student loan relief plan before Sunday, when the loan forgiveness
could start,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the Milwaukee-
based public interest law firm. “WILL is proud to represent American taxpayers,
and to bring the first claim to be submitted to SCOTUS.”
Several other lawsuits are working through the federal court system.
A Missouri U.S. district court on Wednesday was weighing an injunction motion
filed last month by six Republican-led states. Like WILL’s lawsuit, the states of
Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska and South Carolina, and representatives
from Iowa are challenging the constitutionality of the Biden administration’s
student debt cancellation program.
Biden earlier this week held a press conference to awkwardly announce the
Department of Education website where he has said millions of applicants have
“It means more than 8 million Americans are — starting this week — on their way
to receiving life-changing relief,” said Biden, accompanied by Education Secretary
It also means that the vast majority of American taxpayers will now be on the hook
for the estimated $400 billion in debt redistribution payments. Biden’s gimme
wipes out as much as $20,000 in student loan debt per applicant.
According to the most recent census data, 45 million Americans have student loan
debt, or about 13.5 percent of the population. In the Badger State, approximately
692,000 Wisconsinites are carrying a combined $21 billion in federal student
loans, representing less than 12 percent of the state’s 5.93 million residents. And
all residents — including children below college age — should be included in the
numbers. They will be paying off the debt of these lucky 12 percenters for a long
time under Biden’s one-time loan forgiveness scheme.
This is the first time WILL has used such extraordinary legal measures — seeking
emergency relief at the nation’s highest court— to advance the rule of law. The
lawsuit, filed on behalf of taxpayers, also is the only case filed using the argument
of taxpayer standing, which is an established legal doctrine allowing taxpayers to
challenge unconstitutional government programs.
WILL originally filed the lawsuit on Oct. 4 in federal district court. The court, based
in Green Bay, dismissed the lawsuit based on standing. After that suit was
dismissed, WILL and the taxpayers association asked the Seventh Circuit Court of
Appeals to intervene. The court denied the motion late last week.
The complaint alleges the student loan forgiveness program violates the
constitutional separation of powers because it was unilaterally crafted by the
executive branch. It was written without authority — as well as the constitutional
guarantee of equal protection under the law, underscored by the official
documents that outline the program’s preference toward specific races, the lawsuit
In the bailout, the Biden administration argues it is authorized under the 9/11-era
HEROES Act. But that program derived from a law designed to help the men and
women of the Armed Services, allowing the president to make specific changes to
student loan programs when “necessary in connection with a war or other military
operation or national emergency.”
“What Constitutional power does Biden have to take John Q. Public’s money and
pay Jane Q. Public’s school loans? Why not her mortgage, why not her car loan?
How did the college-educated caste become the lucky ones? When and how does
this stop?” said Rich Heidel, president of the Brown County Taxpayers
Association. “This nonsense not only defies the US Constitution – it defies
common sense! And, if President Biden is doing this under the auspices of the
federal government, what redress does John Q. Public have other than to take the
fight to the federal judiciary?”