FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2023
Borrowers and Advocates from Across the Country Gather in Front of the U.S. Supreme Court to Demand Right to Student Debt Relief
The “People’s Rally for Student Debt Cancellation” Punctuated Oral Arguments on the Sham Lawsuits Blocking President Biden’s Relief Program
February 28, 2023 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Demonstrators converged in the nation’s capital as the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in two challenges to President Biden’s student debt relief program. The rally showcased the expansive—and growing—support for debt relief, bringing together working people from across party lines, industries, faith communities, socioeconomic statuses, and cities and states around the country.
Co-sponsored by organizations representing millions of borrowers and supporters, the People’s Rally for Student Debt Cancellation was the largest-ever mass demonstration by people with student debt in front of SCOTUS. A parallel effort to support relief also took place in the courts a few weeks prior, with the submission of over a dozen amici curiae briefs detailing exactly why the lawsuits should be dismissed.
Speakers at the rally emphasized the legality and urgent necessity of President Biden’s relief action, citing the ongoing economic distress caused by COVID-19 on borrowers and history of abuse and mismanagement throughout the student loan system.
A high-definition recording of the full rally is available here:
Rally photos and video clips from the field are available here:
A list of spokespeople and borrower storytellers is available here:
In the aftermath of the Biden Administration’s announcement of the broad student debt cancellation program, Republican-led states mounted a number of legal actions in an attempt to block urgent relief for millions of the most vulnerable student borrowers enduring the economic and social challenges of the pandemic. The United States has operated under a Covid-19 Public Health Emergency since March 2020. Simultaneously, the federal repayment moratorium has also been in effect since early 2020 and was most recently extended for an eighth time in response to a federal appeals court's nationwide injunction on the relief program.
There are two legal challenges that have managed to advance in the judiciary. The first case, Biden v. Nebraska, is a lawsuit filed by six state Republican Attorneys General claiming the administration overstepped its authority in utilizing the HEROES Act of 2003 to take action in a national emergency.
The states also argue a debt relief plan would impact their ability to collect revenue from borrowers saddled with debt for decades. The second case, Department of Education v. Brown, was filed by two Texas borrowers excluded from partial debt relief (not a Pell Grant recipient) or outright ineligible (privately held loans). They maintain the government does not have the authority to enact debt relief.
Young Invincibles (YI), Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC), NAACP, Alliance for Justice, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), Debt Collective, Demand Justice, Dream Defenders, Future Coalition, Hip Hop Caucus, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), March On, MoveOn, National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), National Council of Jewish Women, Inc., National Education Association (NEA), National Urban League, New Georgia Project, NextGen America, Pizza to the Polls, Rise, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), We The 45 Million, 1000 Women Strong, and more.