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Supreme Court student loan debt relief case: How to listen to Tuesday's arguments

During Tuesday's arguments, the justices are expected to ask a range of questions that could point to how they plan to rule on Biden’s student debt relief plan.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday will take on the Biden administration's plan to erase as much as $20,000 per borrower in student loan debt, a potentially life-changing forgiveness plan for millions of Americans. 

So far, Republican-appointed lower court judges have kept Biden's plan from going into effect. The Supreme Court is dominated 6-3 by conservatives, but it remains to be seen how the justices will rule.  

Can I watch video of the Supreme Court student loan case?

The short answer is no, that's because there's no cameras allowed inside the Supreme Court's chambers.

But while you can't watch the proceedings, the Supreme Court does allow audio to be live-streamed as the justices hear from lawyers on both sides of the case and ask questions that will inform their decisions. 

The audio livestream will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern on Feb. 28 on the Supreme Court's website.

You can also listen along here via YouTube

What's at stake?

Expect the justices to be focused on several big issues. The first one is whether the states and the two borrowers have the right to sue over the plan in the first place, a legal concept called “standing.” If they don't, that clears the way for the Biden administration to go ahead with it. To prove they have standing, the states and borrowers will have to show in part that they're financially harmed by the plan.

Beyond standing, the justices will also be asking whether the HEROES Act gives the Biden administration the power to enact the plan and how it went about doing so.

The Supreme Court will essentially decide whether the Biden administration can move ahead with its plan to authorize forgiveness of up to $20,000 in debt for more than 40 million Americans. Nearly half of those people could have their federal student debt wiped out entirely.

Already, about 26 million people have applied for debt forgiveness, and 16 million applications were approved. 

However, because of court rulings, all the relief is on hold. The Education Department stopped taking applications in November because of legal challenges to the plan.

When will we know how the court will decide? 

It will be months before we know the outcome of the case. Although arguments from both sides will be presented Tuesday, the Supreme Court tends to issue its decisions months after hearing those arguments for most cases. Usually, all of the court's decisions for the year are issued by the end of June. 

But that doesn't mean there's no point in listening in. During Tuesday's arguments, justices are expected to ask a multitude of questions about the constitutionality of the administration's plan. Those questions, and the way they're phrased by the justices, are likely to give insight into how they view the case and what they're thinking of ruling. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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