Feb 23, 2023
Minority Borrowers Aim to Influence Court in Loan Case
Genevieve Bonadies Torres, an associate director with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, joined “Cases and Controversies” podcast to discuss the amicus brief she filed in a pair of cases, Biden v. Nebraska and Dept. of Education v. Brown, set for argument on Feb. 28.
The loan relief plan, which is on hold due to litigation, “will eliminate or markedly reduce” payments for millions of lower-income borrowers, many of whom experienced economic hardship during the pandemic, her brief said.
Without intervention, the potential consequences of default could prevent people from paying for basic needs or even threaten their employment. Those risks are “particularly heightened for borrowers of color,” Torres said.
The court challenges focus on a rule known as the major questions doctrine, which directs courts to be skeptical of attempts to use narrow, often ambiguous laws to authorize sweeping, or major programs. The doctrine has recently been bolstered by the court’s new conservative 6-3 majority.
But Torres’ seeks to refocus attention of the court on impacts of the Biden plan on minority borrowers.
Those implications, and the questions they might prompt from the court’s liberal justices, could “play a role in the background” by pushing the Supreme Court’s middle to take a sort of off-ramp to deciding the legality of the program, she said.
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