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Mackinac Center for Public Policy v. U.S. Department of Education

CASE: Mackinac Center for Public Policy v. U.S. Department of Education, Miguel Cardona, and Richard Cordray ​

STATUS: Active

NCLA ROLE: Counsel


ORIGINAL COURT: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

DECIDING COURT: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

OPENED: April 6, 2023

AGENCIES: Department of Education


Scope of Authority / Nondelegation

The structure of the Constitution allows only Congress to legislate, only the Executive to enforce laws, and only the Judiciary to decide cases. But the Administrative State evades the Constitution’s avenues of governance when executive agencies issue regulations without statutory authorization from Congress.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress lawfully suspended monthly payment obligations and interest accrual on federally held student loans for a period limited to six months. After that statutory deferment period expired in September 2020, however, the Department of Education unilaterally extended it without congressional appropriation eight different times. In this case, NCLA challenges the legality of extending the suspension 30 months past the statutory expiration date, which has cost taxpayers over $150 billion from lost interest. Only Congress can categorically suspend repayment obligations for all student-loan borrowers nationwide, and only Congress can cancel the accrual of interest on student loan debt owed to the United States

Congress enacted the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) in 2007 to help 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations like the Mackinac Center attract employees with a debt-relief incentive keyed to working ten years for nonprofits. The Department of Education’s suspension of repayment obligations is an unlawful form of debt relief that substantially reduces the incentives PSLF provides and thus undermines Congress’s goals in enacting that program. As NCLA has argued previously, reducing that incentive directly harms nonprofit employers.

Mark Chenoweth
President and Chief Legal Officer
Sheng Li
Litigation Counsel
Russ Ryan
Senior Litigation Counsel

Plaintiff’s Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

December 4, 2023 | Read More

First Amended Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Relief

October 6, 2023 | Read More

Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction

May 11, 2023 | Read More


NCLA Asks Court to Uphold Lawsuit Against Dep’t of Education’s Illegal Student Loan Payment Pause

December 5, 2023 | Read More

Mackinac Center Asks Federal Court to Immediately Halt ED’s Unlawful Student Loan Payment Pause

May 11, 2023 | Read More

NCLA and Mackinac Center Challenge Unlawful Extensions of Federal Student Loan Deferments

April 19, 2023 | Read More



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