New lawsuit opposes student loan forgiveness because it helps too many non-white people

It’s crazy how much the ascendancy of Donald Trump has allowed right-wing lawyers to say out-loud all the things they used to only say in private.

A Republican legal group in Wisconsin has filed suit against the student loan forgiveness plan because it help non-white people too much.

A group in Wisconsin claims President Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt violates federal law by intentionally seeking to narrow the racial wealth gap and help Black borrowers.

The allegation is among the claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by conservative legal outfit Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association. The complaint largely relies on arguments of executive overreach that have been raised in other legal actions to block Biden’s plan.

It stands out, however, by also bringing race into the mix.

In promoting the debt forgiveness plan, the White House has said it could help narrow the racial wealth gap and advance racial equity. But the lawsuit argues that those statements constitute an “improper racial motive” and violate the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

“The White House has indicated that one reason to do this is that they believe it would disproportionately benefit certain racial groups,” said Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. “The racial motivation supports these taxpayers standing to challenge [the policy] and informs yet another constitutional difficulty with the program.”

The president’s policy would cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year, or less than $250,000 for married couples. Those who received Pell Grants, federal aid for lower-income students, could see up to $20,000 forgiven.

There are no racial criteria for loan forgiveness. But because of the disparities in who holds student loans, the cancellation policy could have an outsize effect on Black borrowers, who shoulder a disproportionate share of the debt and frequently receive Pell Grants because of a lack of financial resources to attend college.

Lord almighty, we are truly going backwards in this country.

I’m old enough to remember a time when making these kinds of arguments would have drawn denunciations from members of both parties.

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