Latest news from the Supreme Court's rulings
- The Supreme Court delivered its final opinions of the term today with a pair of major cases involving an evangelical Christian web designer who wants to be able to refuse to work on LGBTQ weddings and challenges to President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness program.
- In the student debt case, the justices struck down Biden's long-delayed program, which would have allowed eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt and was estimated to cost more than $400 billion. The program has been blocked since the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary hold in October. About 43 million people were eligible to participate.
- The court also ruled in favor of the web designer, Lorie Smith, who opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds. She sued the state of Colorado in 2016 saying she would accept customers planning opposite-sex weddings but reject requests made by same-sex couples wanting the same service. Smith argued that, as a creative professional, she has a free speech right to refuse to undertake work that conflicts with her views.
- After issuing today's rulings, the justices released a list of cases for the next term.
- Catch up on yesterday's rulings on affirmative action here.
Biden moves quickly in effort to reassure young voters on student loans
The White House couldn’t risk looking flat-footed.
After the Supreme Court scrapped Biden’s plan to ease the student debt burden, he moved quickly Friday to reassure core Democratic voters that he’ll find a way to make good on a signature campaign promise.
Within minutes of the court’s 6-3 ruling, the White House released a statement saying that Biden is “not done fighting yet” and had “prepared for this scenario.” After learning about the ruling from top aides, Biden met privately with them to consider next steps, White House officials said.
Later in the afternoon, he rolled out new plans that the White House said would ensure financially “vulnerable” borrowers who miss payments through the end of September 2024 are not considered delinquent. He also announced new repayment options that would be made available to borrowers.
Biden announces new efforts to provide student debt relief
Biden announced new steps aimed at helping borrowers repay student loans after the Supreme Court invalidated his debt relief plan.
The president outlined new repayment options that would be available to millions of borrowers, as well as his administration’s plan to provide broader relief.
The president said that once student loan repayments begin on Oct. 1 — after a three-year pause that began during the Covid pandemic — borrowers will have the opportunity to enroll in a temporary 12-month “onramp repayment program” that will remove the threat of default.
“During this period, if you can pay your monthly bills, you should,” Biden said in brief remarks from the White House. “But if you cannot, if you miss payments, this onramp will temporarily remove the threat of default or having your credit harmed, which can hurt borrowers for years to come.”
Biden lowers income-based loan payment cap
Biden said that student loan borrowers will be required to pay a lower percentage of their income under new policies in response to the Supreme Court striking down his loan cancellations.
Previously, a borrower could be required to pay up to 10% of their disposable income. Going forward, that level will be lowered to 5%.
Biden announces a 12-month student loan forbearance program
Biden condemned the Supreme Court’s student loan decision in his address to the nation, calling it a "mistake" and "wrong."
He said he would create a temporary year-long onramp repayment program. The pause will end, but Biden said for a year, borrowers who miss payments will not be subject to penalties or being reported to credit agencies.
During the speech, he also touted how the administration has already made progress in addressing student debt and education affordability.
Biden criticized Republican officials, saying they could not bear the thought of providing relief for working and middle-class Americans.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stood next to Biden during the remarks but did not speak.
Youngest House member says WH must 'find other ways' to forgive student debt
Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., the youngest member of Congress, said that the student loan decision “doesn’t strike down the president’s ability” to forgive student debt, but rather “the way he was doing it.”
“Now it’s just going to be incumbent upon the administration to find other ways to do it and other laws to look at other mechanisms," he said in an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" Friday. "We’ll continue to push the president to do it."
The issue of student loan forgiveness and how Biden responds to the ruling “will play a big role” in his popularity with younger voters, Frost said.
Liberal lawmakers call for SCOTUS reform
Progressive lawmakers are calling for a variety of Supreme Court reforms. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif., have both advocated for expanding the court, which Biden reiterated yesterday he does not support.
"This not democracy," Lee tweeted. "Expand the court."
Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Mark Warner, D-Va., reiterated calls to establish a code of ethics for the court.
"The time is long overdue for the Supreme Court to do what every other branch of the judiciary does," Sanders said in a press release. "They must establish a code of ethical standards so that justices cannot secretly accept lavish financial gifts from billionaire patrons."
RFK Jr. criticizes Biden for failing to get Congress to pass student loan relief
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is challenging Biden in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary, tweeted that the Supreme Court's ruling on student loans is "unfortunate" but called it "the predictable result of Biden’s failure to bring Congress together on this issue of crucial importance to young Americans."
He said that if elected, he would pressure Congress to provide "meaningful" student debt relief and reduce the cost of education.
Biden to speak on student debt at 3:30 p.m. ET
Biden will deliver remarks on the student loan ruling at 3:30 p.m. ET in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
Biden says on student debt ruling is 'wrong'
President Biden called the court's decision on his student loan forgiveness program "wrong."
He said in a statement he would "stop at nothing to find other ways to deliver relief to hard-working middle-class families" while touting his administration's accomplishments.
"While today’s decision is disappointing, we should not lose sight of the progress we’ve made — making historic increases to Pell Grants; forgiving loans for teachers, firefighters, and others in public service; and creating a new debt repayment plan, so no one with an undergraduate loan has to pay more than 5 percent of their discretionary income," he said.
Biden also said Republicans were hypocritical, arguing that they “had no problem” with forgiveness for pandemic-related loans to businesses.
"But when it came to providing relief to millions of hard-working Americans, they did everything in their power to stop it," he said.
Sen. Fetterman goes after 'partisan' court in fiery statements
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., is out with some fiery statements about today's Supreme Court decisions.
“It is becoming crystal clear that some of these Justices are laser-focused on doing the bidding of their rich donors who fly them on their private jets, take them out on their mega yachts, and buy their families’ homes in sweetheart deals," Fetterman said in a statement shared by his spokesman.
“Our government has spent TRILLIONS to bail out the big banks and the CEOs who crashed our economy," Fetterman said in another. "Our government cancelled MILLIONS in pandemic loans for Members of Congress. Yet SCOTUS is saying we cannot cancel some of the student loan debt for working people.”
He also tweeted that the ruling in the web designer case is "despicable" and "an embarrassment for our country."
Biden to address the nation this afternoon on student loans
Biden tweeted that he will address the nation this afternoon about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down his student loan forgiveness plan.
"Unthinkable. This fight isn’t over," the president said. "I’ll have more to announce when I address the nation this afternoon."
Graduates 'devastated' by Supreme Court ruling on student loan forgiveness
Plaintiff in website design case says she's grateful
The website designer who won her case at the Supreme Court, Lorie Smith, said Friday that the ruling means she can create custom designs that are consistent with her personal beliefs, including that she thinks that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
"This is a victory not just for me, but for all of us. Whether you share my beliefs or completely disagree with them. Free speech is for everyone," Smith said at a Zoom press conference hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented her in the case.
"The court's decision means that we are all more free today than we were yesterday. We can think create, imagine and speak consistent with the core of who we are," she continued.
Smith said that she loves "working with everyone" and that she has "clients who identify as LGBT."
"My case is about speech," she said. "And when speech is concerned, speech should be protected. Today's victory protects not just me, but protects the LGBT website designer. ... Nobody should be forced to create a message that goes against his or her convictions."
Biden calls court's web designer decision 'disappointing'
Biden expressed concern over the decision in the case of the web designer who refused to work on same-sex weddings.
"In America, no person should face discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love," the president said in a statement. "The Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis undermines that basic truth, and painfully it comes during Pride month when millions of Americans across the country join together to celebrate the contributions, resilience, and strength of the LGBTQI+ community."
Biden said he is "deeply concerned" that the decision could "invite more discrimination" against LGBTQ people.
He added that his administration will work with states to "fight back against attempts to roll back civil rights protections that could follow this ruling" and urged Congress to pass the Equality Act, a national LGBTQ rights bill.
"When one group’s dignity and equality are threatened, the promise of our democracy is threatened and we all suffer," he said.
Biden meeting with aides to talk next steps on student loans
President Biden learned of the Supreme Court decision blocking his student loan forgiveness plan from senior aides this morning and has been meeting with them since then to discuss next steps, according to a White House official.
Wedding site Zola reaffirms support for LGBTQ couples in wake of SCOTUS decision
The co-CEOs of Zola, a wedding website design service, are speaking out against the Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis.
"Love stories of LGBTQ+ couples are not only worthy of celebration, but they make our industry and world a better place," Shan-Lyn Ma and Rachel Jarrett said in a statement sent to its users Friday.
The two said they are deeply disappointed with the ruling and are renewing their "vows" to "stand up for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community loudly and proudly as we can."
Supreme Court to weigh right of accused domestic abusers to own guns
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to weigh whether people accused of domestic violence have a right to own firearms in a case that will test the scope of recently expanded gun rights.
The justices agreed to hear a Biden administration appeal in defense of a federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing guns.
In doing so, the justices will examine how broadly they will interpret the landmark ruling a year ago, powered by the court’s conservative majority, that for the first time recognized that the Constitution’s Second Amendment includes a right to bear arms outside the home.
The case will be argued in the court’s next term, which begins in October and ends in June next year.
White House quicker to respond on student debt than abortion
Minutes after the Supreme Court's student debt decision came down, the White House said Biden would announce "new actions to protect student loan borrowers."
The quick response stood in stark contrast to the White House's response to the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The abortion decision last summer was widely expected after Politico had leaked a draft of it months earlier.
Yet the White House seemed flat-footed, and it waited two weeks before it put out a robust response with a plan of action — frustrating many Democrats who were furious over the Supreme Court decision and wanted the president to take the lead.
Roberts defends student loan decision, as Kagan attacks on standing
Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the majority opinion inside the Supreme Court this morning, saying that siding with the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness program would give the secretary of education “virtually unlimited power to rewrite federal law.”
Roberts even quoted former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said in July 2021 that the president did not have the authority to cancel student debt, in what appeared to be an effort to show this was bipartisan thinking.
In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the court did today “what courts should not" do — make national policy.
She suggested that the first overreach of the court was deciding the case at all, saying she believed the petitioners did not have legal standing in either case. (The majority agreed with her in one of the two cases.) “A court acting like a court will have stopped right there,” Kagan said. “The majority does not stop.”
Kagan was sarcastic at times when discussing the standing issue and whether Missouri had a case at all here, saying at one point, "In a case that is not a case ... "
At the end of Kagan’s dissent, Roberts took a few minutes to thank Supreme Court staff for their work over the term. He then adjourned the court until the first Monday in October.
McConnell praises student loan decision
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a statement reacting to the court's student loan forgiveness decision, referred to Biden's loan forgiveness program as a "socialism plan."
"The President of the United States cannot hijack twenty-year-old emergency powers to pad the pockets of his high-earning base and make suckers out of working families who choose not to take on student debt," he wrote. "The Court’s decision today deals a heavy blow to Democrats’ distorted and outsized view of executive power."
Student borrowers face one-two punch after court ruling
The recent debt limit law restarts student loan payments in October after a lengthy "pause" that began during the pandemic. And now, the Supreme Court decision invalidating Biden's student debt forgiveness plan sends borrowers back to square one.
Legislative action appears unlikely, at least in the next 18 months, as Republicans control the House and oppose student debt relief.
Inside the courtroom as the web designer ruling and dissent were read
Inside the courtroom on the last day of the term, Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the majority opinion in the case of the web designer who opposes same-sex marriage.
While Gorsuch commended Colorado’s strong laws protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community, he suggested that any ruling in favor of Colorado's Civil Rights Division would be a slippery slope. He suggested a few “what if” scenarios, including if a Muslim movie director were forced to produce a movie with a Zionist message, or if a gay website creator were forced to create a website for a group advocating against gay marriage.
In a 20-minute dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the court’s decision “heartbreaking” and “profoundly wrong.” She said that web designer Lorie Smith's argument amounted to “discrimination ... plain and simple."
“It’s a sad day in American constitutional law,” Sotomayor said, suggesting that the court is “issuing a new license to discriminate.”
Gorsuch and Sotomayor sat next to each other on the bench. Gorsuch watched Sotomayor’s remarks intently, while Sotomayor didn’t appear to pay much attention to Gorsuch as he spoke.
Progressive lawmakers call for alternate path forward on debt relief
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said on Twitter that the court's ruling does "NOT remove Biden's ability to pursue student loan forgiveness."
"The Biden Admin can use the HEA (Higher Ed Act) — our position from the start — to continue loan forgiveness before payments resume," she wrote. "They should do so ASAP."
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., echoed a similar sentiment, saying people "cannot return to the status quo of mass default and distress."
"Every option needs to be on the table to ensure borrowers are protected from economic ruin by being thrown back into a fundamentally broken student loan system come September 1st," she wrote.
Transgender legal org. notes the limits of the web designer ruling
Following the court's ruling in favor of a wedding web designer's refusal to serve same-sex clients, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund tweeted the importance of understanding where the ruling does or doesn't apply. The ruling does not mean that any business can now deny any service to LGBTQ people.
"It applies only to businesses offering original, customized, expressive services, and only if they vet each proposed project for alignment with their views," the organization explained. "Otherwise, businesses must comply with anti-discrimination law."
The organization also added that it will continue to fight for LGBTQ rights.
"Across the country, 100s of bills have been introduced targeting #trans, #nonbinary and #queer people for mistreatment and #discrimination and we will continue to fight for the ability of trans & nonbinary people to participate fully and fairly in every aspect of public life."
Schumer accuses conservative justices of 'hypocrisy,' citing gifts
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized conservative justices who accept "lavish" gifts for themselves and ruled against President Joe Biden's student debt forgiveness plan for middle-income borrowers.
Schumer's comment may be a preview of how Democrats will respond politically to the recent court decisions.
"This disappointing and cruel student debt ruling shows the callousness of the MAGA Republican-controlled Supreme Court," he wrote in a separate tweet.
Youth groups says Biden must find 'alternative paths forward' on students loans
A group of youth organizations released a joint statement blasting the Supreme Court's decision on student loans and arguing that Biden "cannot afford another disappointment with young people."
"Once again, a decision from the conservative Supreme Court moves our country backwards," the statement read. "Student debt relief is right, legal and vital."
The group argued that young people who voted for Democrats in 2020 and 2022 are "counting on the Biden administration to follow through on their promise" by "finding alternative paths forward."
"...President Biden cannot afford another disappointment with young people — a vital voting bloc for Democrats," the statement read.
The groups included Sunrise Movement, March for Our Lives and Debt Collective, among others.
'If you take out a loan, you pay it back': 2024 GOP presidential candidates praise decision
Several 2024 Republican presidential candidates expressed their support for the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.
Former Vice President Mike Pence called the plan an "egregious violation of the Constitution" in a statement, adding that he was "pleased that the Court struck down the Radical Left’s effort to use the money of taxpayers who played by the rules and repaid their debts in order to cancel the debt of bankers and lawyers in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. "
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tweeted that the court was "right to throw out Joe Biden's power grab.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott used the opportunity to share his campaign ad on the topic, saying, "It's time for a president who values hard work"
Here’s what polling says about the now-scuttled student loan plan
President Joe Biden’s signature student loan forgiveness plan had enjoyed narrow support among the American public, according to recent polling.
An April poll from Reuters/Ipsos found that 47% of Americans supported Biden's plan, while 41% said they did not support it.
Last September's NBC News poll found 43% of registered voters thought the plan was a good idea, with 44% saying it was a bad idea. The survey found a significant partisan divide, with 78% of Democrats calling the White House plan a good idea, compared to 34% of independents and 11% of Republicans.
Both polls found the plan far more popular among those who have student debt than among those who do not.
Read more on the Meet the Press Blog.
LGBTQ politicians express anger over recent decision
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey and other LGBTQ politicians flooded Twitter with negative reactions after today's decision in the Christian website designer case.
"Using religion as an excuse to discriminate is wrong — and unconstitutional," Buttigieg tweeted. "Today’s ruling will move America backward."
Healey added that freedom "isn’t using the First Amendment as a license to slam the door on LGBTQ+ customers" and has "never been about a cake or a website."
Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., agreed: "The extremist Supreme Court has ruled that LGBTQ+ people are now second class citizens. This is a dark day for our community and our country. Let’s be crystal clear, we are under attack and we need to fight back."
McCarthy celebrates student loan decision
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted, "President Biden’s student loan giveaway is ruled UNLAWFUL. The 87% of Americans without student loans are no longer forced to pay for the 13% who do."
"This builds on the Fiscal Responsibility Act’s end to the payment pause. The President must follow the law," he wrote.
Kagan says she does not 'disparage' those who disagree
In a dissenting opinion in Biden v. Nebraska, Justice Elena Kagan directly responded to criticism from Chief Justice Roberts in the majority opinion. Kagan wrote that she does not disparage those who disagree.
"And there is surely nothing personal in the dispute here. But Justices throughout history have raised the alarm when the Court has overreached — when it has 'exceed[ed] its proper, limited role in our Nation’s governance,'" she writes.
She continues, "It would have been 'disturbing,' and indeed damaging, if they had not. ... The same is true in our own day."
The line echoes Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion, in which he says "do not mistake this plainly heartfelt disagreement for disparagement," and calls on the public not to be misled.
GOP senators praise student loan decision
Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith, R-Miss., tweeted that she was "relieved" that the court had overturned the "attempt to force hardworking Americans... to foot the debts of others"
Schumer: Biden has 'remaining legal routes' to cancel student debt
"The fight will not end here," Schumer said. "The Biden administration has remaining legal routes to provide broad-based student debt cancellation."
Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal: ‘We will fight back’
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted her reaction to the high court’s student loan ruling, saying that Biden had the executive authority to cancel student loan debt.
“This is a terrible decision and we will fight back,” she said.
Kagan: Student loan ruling is judicial 'overreach'
While the conservative majority ruled that the Biden student loan forgiveness plan exceeded the government's authority, Kagan said in her dissent it was the high court that was overreaching, because the six states challenging the policy do not have standing to do so.
"The Court’s first overreach in this case is deciding it at all. Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff must have standing to challenge a government action. And that requires a personal stake—an injury in fact. We do not allow plaintiffs to bring suit just because they oppose a policy," Kagan wrote.
"The plaintiffs in this case are six States that have no personal stake in the Secretary’s loan forgiveness plan. They are classic ideological plaintiffs: They think the plan a very bad idea, but they are no worse off because the Secretary differs. In giving those States a forum—in adjudicating their complaint— the Court forgets its proper role. The Court acts as though it is an arbiter of political and policy disputes, rather than of cases and controversies."
Court has adjourned
The Supreme Court has adjourned for the term. It will release orders at noon ET today.
Court session has concluded
The Supreme Court has concluded its session — with no final surprises from the courtroom.
Roberts says 'disagreement' isn't 'disparagement'
In the majority opinion of Biden v. Nebraska filed by Chief Justice John Roberts, he criticizes "disturbing" features of recent dissents.
"It has become a disturbing feature of some recent opinions to criticize the decisions with which they disagree as going beyond the proper role of the judiciary," the opinion read.
Roberts refuses that, saying the court used "traditional tools of judicial decisionmaking in doing so."
"Reasonable minds may disagree with our analysis—in fact, at least three do," he writes.
He continued, "We do not mistake this plainly heartfelt disagreement for disparagement. It is important that the public not be misled either. Any such misperception would be harmful to this institution and our country."
Borrowers set to have student loans forgiven dismayed by decision
The Supreme Court's decision on student debt forgiveness dismayed borrowers across the country who have benefited from the Covid-era debt payment pause for the past three years.
Among the most upset about the Supreme Court’s decision are the nearly 20 million people, according to the Biden administration, like Joy Morales-Bartlett who stood to have their debts fully canceled.
“It’s disheartening,” said Morales-Bartlett. “We’ve done the right things this whole time, and we are being punished for it.”
With a remaining balance of $19,000, the 47-year-old former teacher was looking forward to seeing her decadeslong journey toward repaying $89,000 in student loan debt finally come to an end.
The payment pause made the public “come on board to the concept of debt cancellation,” Natalia Abrams, president and founder of the Student Debt Crisis Center, said, “because people got to see what their lives would be like without student debt.”
Court says White House exceeded its authority on student loans
In his majority ruling, Chief Justice Roberts found Biden's Education secretary exceeded his authority with the student loan forgiveness plan.
"The Secretary asserts that the HEROES Act grants him the authority to cancel $430 billion of student loan principal. It does not. We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to 'waive or modify' existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up," Roberts wrote.
Schumer reacts to web designer case
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the Supreme Court's decision on 303 Creative LLC et al. v Elenis et al a "giant step backward."
“Refusing service based on whom someone loves is just as bigoted and hateful as refusing service because of race or religion,” Schumer said in a statement.
The Senate majority leader said Democrats will continue to fight for equal protections for all Americans.
Chart: Student loan borrowers by amount owed
Biden will 'have more to say' on student loan relief ruling on Friday, source says
Biden will weigh in on the student loan forgiveness ruling on Friday, according to a source within the White House who said that while "we strongly disagree with the court, we prepared for this scenario."
"The President will make clear he’s not done fighting yet, and will announce new actions to protect student loan borrowers," the source said.
"We’ll also be making it crystal clear to borrowers and their families that Republicans are responsible for denying them the relief that President Biden has been fighting to get to them," the source added.
How the justices landed in the student loan cases
The court divided decisions on the student loan cases. Here’s the breakdown of how justices landed:
Case One: Department of Education v Brown
Justice Samuel Alito: Delivered the majority opinion in a unanimous decision.
Case Two: Biden v. Nebraska
Chief Justice John Roberts: Delivered the majority opinion. He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett: Filed concurring opinion.
Justice Elena Kagan: Filed the dissenting opinion. She was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Sen. Josh Hawley praises wife for her role litigating web designer case
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted his support of the court's decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis, calling it a "major victory for free speech and religious liberty" and noting that his wife "litigated the case".
His wife, Erin Hawley, serves as senior counsel to the appellate team at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that has also brought challenges to laws around abortion, birth control and transgender students playing sports.
Read the Supreme Court's opinion on the student loan forgiveness plan case
Read here the Supreme Court's opinion in which it struck down Biden's student loan forgiveness plan.
Supreme Court kills Biden student loan debt relief plan
The Supreme Court on Friday invalidated President Joe Biden’s student loan debt relief plan, meaning the long-delayed proposal intended to implement a campaign trail promise will not go into effect.
The justices, divided 6-3, ruled that the program was an unlawful exercise of presidential power because it had not been explicitly approved by Congress.
The plan, which would have allowed eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt and would have cost more than $400 billion, has been blocked since the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary hold in October.
Court rules Missouri has standing, strikes down student loan forgiveness
In a 6-3 decision in favor of Missouri, the court has ruled against Biden.
Court divides student loan decisions
The court has divided the decisions on the student loan cases into two. In the first case, Department of Education v. Brown, the court found the plaintiffs don't have standing.
Supreme Court rules on Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan
The Supreme Court has issued rulings on Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown, both of which challenge President Biden's plan to forgive an estimated $400 billion in student loan debt.
Sotomayor: 'Today is a sad day ... in the lives of LGBT people'
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent that it's a "sad day in American constitutional law and in the lives of LGBT people."
"The Supreme Court of the United States declares that a particular kind of business, though open to the public, has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class. The Court does so for the first time in its history," she wrote.
Sotomayor continued, "By issuing this new license to discriminate in a case brought by a company that seeks to deny same-sex couples the full and equal enjoyment of its services, the immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status. In this way, the decision itself inflicts a kind of stigmatic harm, on top of any harm caused by denials of service. The opinion of the Court is, quite literally, a notice that reads: 'Some services may be denied to same-sex couples.'"
Sotomayor: 'Today, the Court shrinks.'
Sotomayor delivered a blistering criticism of the court's majority opinion in her dissent in the web designer case.
"Time and again, businesses and other commercial entities have claimed constitutional rights to discriminate. And time and again, this Court has courageously stood up to those claims — until today," she wrote. "Today, the Court shrinks."
Later, she said the court was conflating service denial and protected expression, calling it "a grave error."
Gorsuch: 'Tolerance, not coercion, is our Nation’s answer'
In the web designer case, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote, "At the same time, this Court has also recognized that no public accommodations law is immune from the demands of the Constitution. In particular, this Court has held, public accommodations statutes can sweep too broadly when deployed to compel speech."
He continued, "But tolerance, not coercion, is our Nation’s answer. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands. Because Colorado seeks to deny that promise, the judgment is Reversed."
Sotomayor calls web designer ruling 'profoundly wrong' in dissent
Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the decision in the web designer case "reactionary exclusion," saying it is "heartbreaking" in her dissent, which was joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
"Around the country, there has been a backlash to the movement for liberty and equality for gender and sexual minorities," the dissent read. "New forms of inclusion have been met with reactionary exclusion. This is heartbreaking. Sadly, it is also familiar. When the civil rights and women’s rights movements sought equality in public life, some public establishments refused. Some even claimed, based on sincere religious beliefs, constitutional rights to discriminate. The brave Justices who once sat on this Court decisively rejected those claims."
She went on to call the web designer's legal argument — and the Court's agreement with it — "profoundly wrong."
Here's how the justices split on the web designer case:
Justice Neil Gorsuch: Filed the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor: Filed the dissenting opinion. She was joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Read the Supreme Court's decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis
The decision is posted online here.
Supreme Court rules for web designer who refused to work on same-sex weddings
The Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of an evangelical Christian web designer from Colorado who refuses to work on same-sex weddings.
The justices, divided 6-3, said that Lorie Smith, as a creative professional, has a free speech right under the Constitution’s First Amendment to refuse to endorse messages she disagrees with. As a result, she cannot be punished under Colorado’s antidiscrimination law for refusing to design websites for gay couples, the court said.
Conservatives side with web designer in LGBTQ case
The court ruled 6-3 in favor of the web designer who wanted to be able to reject same-sex wedding clients.
The Court has handed down a decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis
The Supreme Court handed down its first decision of the day: 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.
This case involves a web designer, Lorie Smith, who opposes same-sex marriage. Smith sued to be able to reject same-sex couples planning weddings, though she would accept opposite-sex couples.
Two boxes, so expect lengthy decisions
The court has two boxes in the press room holding decisions. With only two left to be delivered today, we should expect some lengthy decisions, or decisions with lots of concurrences or dissents.
Five minute warning
The court has sounded the warning that session will begin in 5 minutes.
Biden's approval with young adults improved after he took action on student loan debt
With the Supreme Court set to issue its opinion on Biden’s executive action on student loans, the president's standing with young voters is likely to be tested.
Per our most recent NBC News poll, 51% of registered voters ages 18-34 approve of the president’s job performance, versus 44% who disapprove. That’s compared with Biden’s overall job rating of 43% approve, 53% disapprove.
Biden’s standing with young Americans today is actually an improvement from his nadir back in our August 2022 NBC News poll — before his action on student loans and passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Here’s Biden’s approval among those 18-34 in the NBC News poll
April 2021: 56% approve, 30% disapprove (beginning of Biden’s presidency)
Aug. 2021: 55% approve, 38% disapprove
Oct. 2021: 42% approve, 49% disapprove
Jan. 2022: 40% approve, 55% disapprove
March 2022: 42% approve, 50% disapprove
May 2022: 37% approve, 55% disapprove
Aug. 2022: 36% approve, 58% disapprove (right before action on student loans + signing Inflation Reduction Act into law)
Sept. 2022: 48% approve, 45% disapprove
Oct. 2022: 54% approve, 41% disapprove
Nov. 2022: 43% approve, 51% disapprove
Jan 2023: 48% approve, 42% disapprove
April 2023: 41% approve, 50% disapprove
June 2023: 51% approve, 44% disapprove
Medical schools will be even less diverse after affirmative action ruling, experts say
The Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling will have far-reaching consequences for Black and Latino students hoping to attend medical school and, in turn, only worsen the health disparities among people of color across the country, experts said.
After the high court’s ruling yesterday struck down affirmative action programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard, many fear that medical and nursing schools and other professional institutions will no longer be able to foster diversity by considering race in their admissions processes. The decision will result in fewer Black physicians and more racial bias in the medical field, said Dr. Uché Blackstock, a physician who is the founder of Advancing Health Equity.
“Fewer Black health professionals means less culturally responsive and equitable care for Black patients,” she said. “Also, the lack of Black representation among Black health professionals is a problem for younger generations since ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’”
Blackstock laid it out in stark terms in a string of tweets. “This is about life & death for us. Today, we are only 5% of physicians,” she wrote. “This decision will hasten the deaths of Black people in this country and we already die prematurely.”
Supreme Court expected to rule on Biden’s student debt relief plan today
The Supreme Court is poised to issue a much-anticipated ruling today that will determine whether Biden’s long-delayed plan to forgive student loan debt can move forward.
The program, which would allow eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt and is estimated to cost more than $400 billion, has been blocked since the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary hold in October. About 43 million people are eligible to participate.
The administration has estimated that the program would wipe out all federal student loan debt for about 20 million people.
Sotomayor and Jackson slam idea that U.S. is ‘colorblind’
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson accused their conservative colleagues on the Supreme Court of ignoring the persistent presence of racism in the United States in striking down affirmative action in college admissions yesterday.
Sotomayor, in a 69-page dissent in a case against Harvard, characterized the court’s ruling as one that “rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress.”
In deciding “that race can no longer be used in a limited way in college admissions,” the court effectively “cements a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter,” she wrote.
Sotomayor, the third woman and the first Latina member of the court, has described herself as a “perfect affirmative action baby.” Jackson is the first Black woman on the court.
Biden says it would be a ‘mistake’ to try to expand the Supreme Court
Biden continued criticism of the Supreme Court‘s decision to strike down colleges’ affirmative action programs in an interview on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” but said trying to expand the court would be a “mistake.”
Asked by host Nicolle Wallace about expanding the court, Biden said that if it were expanded, it would become too politicized.
“I think if we start the process of trying to expand the court, we’re going to politicize it maybe forever in a way that is not healthy,” he said.
Wallace also asked Biden about his answer to a reporter’s question earlier yesterday about whether this Supreme Court is a “rogue court.” Biden replied to the reporter: “This is not a normal court.”
“It’s done more to unravel basic rights and basic decisions than any court in recent history, and that’s what I meant by not normal,” he said on MSNBC, citing last year’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and how the court has “ruled on a number of issues that ... had been precedent for 50, 60 years sometimes.”
Four things students need to know after the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action
The Supreme Court ruling that selective colleges and universities can’t use race as a factor in admissions comes as the nation’s students have become increasingly more diverse.
Over half are Latino, Black, Asian American or Native American, said Michele Siqueiros, the president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit group helping Californians go to college.
“We have more eligible students ready for college than we’ve ever had,” Siqueiros said.
At the same time, Black and Latino students are still underrepresented across selective and highly selective colleges and universities — institutions where fewer than half of applicants or fewer than 20% are accepted, respectively. They’re also underrepresented in many states’ flagship universities.
We asked experts to assess what the Supreme Court ruling means for students and families.