Three significant rulings from the Supreme Court last week will have a long-term effect on how public policy is made.

Affirmative action in education has suffered a significant setback with the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday that the use of race in college admissions is a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

A huge win for proponents of religious liberty came on Friday when the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that states cannot require employees to promote statements that go against their religious views.

The supreme court’s decision on Friday to reject President Biden’s proposal to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt, however, may turn out to be more significant than you would expect.


The government sought to “cancel” $10,000 in student loan debt for Americans who earn less than $125,000 annually, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, but the Supreme Court found in Biden v. Nebraska that this was against the law.

The Biden administration made an attempt to use the authority to “waive or modify” to eliminate sizable amounts of student loan debt for the first time since the law’s passage. It had previously only been used in a very small number of instances, such as to waive a requirement that students submit a formal request for a leave of absence.

The effect of Biden’s proposal to eliminate student loans would have been enormous. “The Department of Education estimates that the programme will cover 98.5% of all borrowers,” the Supreme Court stated in its ruling, at a cost of $430 billion.

Additionally, there may have been even more of an impact on future debt cancellation programmes and student behaviour. What would prevent Biden or a future presidential administration from “cancelling” even more student loan debt if he were given the green light to erase $430 billion in debt from students over night?

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The effects of Biden’s debt elimination plan would have been felt for a very long time. Even so, the Supreme Court’s ruling has much more significance than simply addressing the direct and indirect costs of student debt cancellation proposals. Not just decisions concerning the Department of Education will be impacted by Biden v. Nebraska; many future executive decisions made by presidents and their executive branch agencies are likely to be affected as well.

In Biden v. Nebraska, the main legal issue was not student loan debt, but rather whether the executive branch had the right to exploit statutes’ ambiguous language to effect significant modifications without the approval of Congress.

Like the Obama administration and other liberal administrations before it, the Biden administration made an effort to make the case that the federal government could do almost anything by using wide legislative language.

Therefore, when the Heroes Act gave the Department of Education the authority to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programmes under title IV of the [Education Act],” the White House’s interpretation was that Biden could create enormous, expensive debt cancellation programmes that were never imagined by anyone in Congress who voted for the Heroes Act two decades ago.

This extreme left-wing approach to legislating will pave the way for apparently limitless power abuses and programme expansions. Who is to say, for instance, that if Biden had won the lawsuit, he wouldn’t have eventually cancelled all student loan debt or handed $10,000 to each college student in America to aid with living expenses? Both of those changes might undoubtedly be referred to as “modifications” of the legislation.


Thankfully, the Supreme Court disapproved of this unconventional method of regulating. Instead, it correctly concluded that Congress is the sole entity given authority by the Constitution to enact new laws, even those that would introduce an innovative plan to cancel student loans. Regardless of whether it offers a benefit, a regulatory agency cannot impose a change unless Congress has expressly and specifically granted that agency the authority to do so. That was not always the case in the past, when judges tended to lean more to the left.

The terms “waive or modify” do not imply “completely rewrite,” Chief Justice John Roberts argued in a majority opinion, and “this is a case about one branch of government arrogating to itself power belonging to another… it is the Executive seizing the power of the Legislature.”

Roberts is entirely correct. There is zero proof that the Republican-led Congress and Republican president who approved the Heroes Act in 2003 meant to grant a future leader the authority to significantly reduce the amount of student loan debt. Furthermore, no sincere, sane person would ever interpret the word “modify” to imply “rewrite the law as you see fit, no matter the cost.”

Of course, the extreme left doesn’t give a damn about what Congress intended to do back in 2003, nor does it care if the legislative branch actually passes laws. For the extreme left, it doesn’t matter how they get there—just as long as their goals are met.

The Supreme Court is now taking a firm stance against such extreme tactics for Americans. I hope that never alters.

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