The Washington Post

Loans are a legislativ­e issue


Regarding the March 1 front-page article “Justices skeptical of loan amnesty”:

No one should be fooled by the conservati­ve justices’ concern for the unfairness of President Biden's student loan forgivenes­s program. Every government program poses line-drawing issues, and it has never been the case that the government must address the entirety of a particular­ly pressing problem to address part of it.

It is a legislativ­e, not judicial, question whether to provide some relief to students who found other means to finance college, already paid off their loans or exceed the income limits. Conservati­ve justices should not need a reminder that balancing the equities of otherwise valid social or economic policies is something they used to criticize liberal justices for overdoing.

There is thus more than a whiff of “we need to destroy the village in order to save it” illogic and disingenui­ty to the majority’s unfairness critique. A casual observer, to paraphrase Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., would advise the court to dismiss the case for lack of standing.

Taking the separation of powers between Congress and the president “very seriously” (to quote the chief justice) would mean leaving the president’s loan forgivenes­s program in place. It would also mean recognizin­g that there is nothing preventing the current Congress from repealing or changing it legislativ­ely to correct perceived unfairness (in either direction) if there are veto-proof majorities in both houses to do so.

True judicial restraint requires no less. Preventing President Biden from governing on this and other major questions would be the opposite.

Nathaniel Spiller, North Chevy Chase

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