Who is Mark Timothy Pittman? Judge appointed by Trump puts Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on ice

The US president's plan to waive up to $20K in student debt for federal borrowers making under $125K a year is illegal, says Pittman

Who is Mark Timothy Pittman? Judge appointed by Trump puts Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on ice
Judge Mark Timothy Pittman (L), who was appointed by Donald Trump, blocked Joe Biden’s student loan waiver plan (Kevin Dietsch and Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
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FORT WORTH, TEXAS: District Court Judge Mark Timothy Pittman, an appointee of former president Donald Trump, has struck down Joe Biden's student debt waiver plan on Thursday, November 10, 2022. He said that the president’s plan to waive up to $20K in student debt for federal borrowers making under $125K a year is illegal.

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The 26-page-order read, "No one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States. In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government." The order further stated, “The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country. But it is fundamental to the survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved.” In response to this, the Biden administration filed an appeal to challenge the ruling. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, in a statement confirming the appeal, said, "We strongly disagree with the District Court's ruling on our student debt relief program," reports Axios.

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As per Business Insider, the ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by two student-loan borrowers, Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor, represented by the conservative group the Job Creators Network. Both plaintiffs have student loans. Taylor didn't qualify for the full $20,000 because he didn't receive a Pell Grant, and Brown didn't qualify because she had commercially-held loans. Commenting on the ruling, Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network Foundation, said in a statement, "The court has correctly ruled in favor of our motion and deemed the Biden student loan program illegal. The judge criticized the Biden Administration program, calling it 'one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.' This ruling protects the rule of law which requires all Americans to have their voices heard by their federal government."

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Prior to this ruling, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals had put a temporary stay on the debt relief since October 21 while it considered an effort by the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, and South Carolina to block the program, according to the Seattle Times.

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What was the student debt relief plan?

According to Federal Student Aid, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program waives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments, working full time for federal, state, Tribal, or local government; the military; or a qualifying non-profit. A total of 26 million people have so far applied for loan waiver, with 16 million borrowers approved for relief, the Biden administration said on November 10. The application opened on October 14, states the report by CNN.

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Who is Mark Pittman?

Born in Big Spring and raised in Cooper, Pittman is a former vice-president and founding member of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Federalist Society and a master of the Eldon B Mahon Inn of Court, according to Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He has done his Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas A&M University in 1996, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1999.

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Married for 15 years to his wife Katrina, Pittman is a father of four children. Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, he was an Associate Justice on the Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas since the year 2017. He has also served for two years on the trial bench of the 352nd Judicial District Court in Tarrant County. In addition to all this, he is a member of the Fort Worth Civil War Roundtable and the AM Pate Book Award in the Civil War History selection committee.

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