Refusing to stop at Judge Ho’s decision to spite cancel Yale for clout… err, to own the libs, the spirit of petty continues to animate our law school politics. The next target of cancelation? Biden’s student loan forgiveness. And I hear you, that isn’t a new target — folks have been complaining for what feels like years now. What is new is the reason. Conservatives are claiming that it disproportionately benefits African Americans.
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.
What a surprising lawsuit to come from the people who don’t see race. Unless, of course, the topic is loan forgiveness. Or a 200-year-old untouched flute. Or a Disney film. I will say, I have to respect eschewing a free $10,000 off your ledger if it means Ariel’s cousins don’t have more fiscal freedom. It is though the only thing I can find to respect about a group of people going out of their way to punch down. Even if it is the case that Black folks will disproportionately benefit from the Pell grant provision, it’s because Pell grants tend to be awarded to folks with lower income. That’s as bad as attacking a school for trying to open its doors to communities denied equal access to education in the past.
Coincidentally, conservatives have also done just that.
Genevieve Bonadies Torres of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said the lawsuit “turns the equal protection clause on its head,” as the mere awareness of race or a disproportionate impact does not amount to a violation of the law. She said conservative groups have unsuccessfully used similar arguments to challenge high school admissions policies that expand access for marginalized students.
“I can think of a host of policies and practices that disproportionately help White people that, again, are not being put under the legal microscope,” Bonadies Torres said. The lawsuit “is indicative of the attacks that we’re seeing on any opportunities that try to get people relief that they’re due.”
Someone should point conservatives to the marijuana licensing that has white folks controlling ~81% of marijuana businesses while communities ravaged by the drug war face hurdle after hurdle to get in. Or maybe they should turn their eyes toward how nearly all of the pandemic bailout funds went to white farmers. What’s next? Getting rid of affirmative action because it benefits white women the most? I get the feeling these are totally fine and not worth going to court over. Except affirmative action of course, but that still gets painted as a thing benefitting Black people the most despite the data clearly illustrating it’s outsized benefit to white women. Kind of like how welfare has lifted up White middle class families for decades, but Black folks get the rap for it.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.