AOC Went Too Far This Time
Story by Harrison Kass
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC), congress’s Master of Social Media, used Instagram to comment on the Supreme Court’s pending student loan decision.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide on Biden’s student loan forgiveness program before the end of June. AOC is not optimistic that the Court will rule in Biden’s favor.
When an Instagram user asked AOC whether she believed there was “actually any hope” for the Court to preserve Biden’s loan forgiveness plan, AOC responded with a Story.
“In every convo we’ve had with the White House,” AOC said, “they feel very strongly about the chances of their case before the court. While I personally do not share their same sense of optimism – not because I doubt the legal case, but because I do not believe the SCOTUS’ corruption can be trusted – the Biden admin has been insistent that they feel they have a case.”
AOC added that “I – and others – in turn have been very adamant on having a Plan B. What we should not accept is a situation where there’s no Plan B and the admin just shrugs in the event of a bad ruling. Absolutely not.”
Unpacking AOC’s comments
I agree with AOC’s pessimism; the likelihood that SCOTUS’s 6-3 conservative majority upholds Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is low.
However, AOC’s reasoning – that SCOTUS’s “corruption” cannot be trusted – goes too far.
I assume AOC is referring to the recent ethics scandal in which Justice Clarence Thomas was discovered to have been receiving decades worth of financial perks from GOP megadonor Harlan Crowe. While Thomas’s behavior raises significant ethical questions about the Court, I can’t go as far as to say the entirety of the Court is corrupt.
Granted, AOC didn’t say explicitly here that the Court is corrupt because of the Thomas-Crowe thing, but I’m not sure what else she might be referring to.
I don’t care for the contemporary conservative composition of the Supreme Court – but my disdain for their worldview doesn’t make the Court automatically corrupt.
Now, if AOC wanted to argue that the Supreme Court is a political appendage, with justices who make partisan-motivated, rather than legal-motivated, rulings, she’d have my attention.
Back to the issue at hand: student loan debt forgiveness. The White House appears confident in its legal argument – which relies upon the HEROES Act. Under the HEROES Act, the Education Secretary can “waive or modify” student loan balances when a national emergency warrants. The argument makes sense textually. The Act reads that the Education Secretary is authorized to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to” student-aid programs “as the Secretary deems necessary in connection with a war or other military operation or a national emergency” to ensure that borrowers are not left in a worse-off position.
“Both Republican and Democratic administrations have found the national emergency resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic warrants the secretary’s exercise of that broad authority,” The Hill reported. But again, don’t expect the conservative majority to be impressed with the argument.
AOC also encouraged the Biden administration to construct an alternative, rather than just wash their hands of the issue once SCOTUS hands down a ruling. I agree with AOC there – the issue should not be dropped; alternatives should be devised.