A federal judge in Texas took the extraordinary step Wednesday of declaring he’s ready to decide the legality of President Joe Biden’s executive order canceling hundreds of billions of dollars of student loan debt, bypassing a current request for a preliminary injunction and the customary trial.
U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman had been holding a hearing on a request from the small business group Job Creators Network’s legal arm on behalf of two plaintiffs to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Biden from enacting the debt relief until the legality of his executive order was decided.
But Pittman, appointed by former President Donald Trump, declared Wednesday in a five-sentence, one-page order that the government and plaintiff lawyers had made all the necessary arguments and that a trial would not elicit further evidence so he is ready to move to a judgement on the merits of the case.
“Having held a hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and reviewed the related briefing, the Court intends to consolidate as it appears that the Parties have presented their case and no evidence of significance would be forthcoming at trial,” the judge wrote.
Pittman said he was prepared to advance the preliminary objection request “to a determination on the merits” and gave the Justice Department and plaintiff lawyers until Friday to file any objections to his plan.
The judge cited as his authority for taking such action a federal civil procedural rule that states that “before or after beginning the hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction, the court may advance the trial on the merits and consolidate it with the hearing.”
Lawyers for the Job Creators Network and Justice Department did not immediately return a call Wednesday night seeking comment.
Legal experts said the decision by Pittman was out of the ordinary. Harvard University law professor emeritus […]
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