Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, poses for a portrait, Friday, Feb., 18, 2022, in Washington.
( Jacquelyn Martin
Melissa Harris-Perry: You still with The Takeaway, and it's time for us to look back at it and bring you some updates on stories we've been following.
Donald Trump: To help our students and their families, I’ve waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies, and that will be until further notice.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Yes, it's been almost three years since the US Department of Education set student loan interest rates at 0% and put a pause on payments. Back in August, President Biden announced a plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt. For a while, we all thought the pause on student loan payments was coming to an end, but then.
Journalist: The Biden administration has stopped accepting new applications after that federal judge in Texas struck down the plan calling it unconstitutional after two borrowers who did not qualify for relief sued the government, arguing the process was arbitrary and unlawful.
Melissa Harris-Perry: On February 28th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments brought by six Republican-led states as well as the Job Creators Network Foundation. That's a conservative advocacy organization who says they're protecting the American dream for generations to come. Once again, the Biden administration has pressed pause.
Joe Biden: It isn't fair that tens of millions of borrowers are eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit. For that reason, the Secretary of Education is extending the pause on student loan payments while we seek relief from the courts but no later than June 30, 2023.
Melissa Harris-Perry: In the meantime, the US Department of Education is reviewing the loan histories of most federal borrowers. The review is expected to trigger loan forgiveness for tens of thousands of people and bring millions closer to having their loans erased.
In a very different story. On Tuesday, the state of Missouri executed Amber McLaughlin by lethal injection. This is the first known execution in the US of an openly trans person. Her death also marks Missouri's first execution of a woman since the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.
Back in October of 2021, we spoke with Sister Helen Prejean, an anti-death penalty activist, Catholic nun, and spiritual advisor to many on death row.
Helen Prejean: As we're talking about it, we are in situations that are hidden from public view, in which we have state officials that take live human beings out of their cells and systematically, in the coldest protocol of death you can imagine, and killing them.
Melissa Harris-Perry: On Tuesday night, Sister Helen tweeted this, "Amber's life story was filled with abuse, trauma, mental illness, brain damage, and intellectual disability, all culminating in a horrible crime. Amber was deeply remorseful for her actions, but the system showed her no mercy."
Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver wrote to the Republican Governor Mike Parson to halt the execution of McLaughlin, saying, "Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done." Finally, let's look back at the newest member of the US Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Back in March, we talked with NYU Law Professor Melissa Murray, and she told us about what Justice Jackson might expect to encounter once confirmed.
Melissa Murray: Tonja Jacobi at Northwestern University. I'm with one of her students who's done a study of interruptions on the bench, and she's found that the women justices are the ones who are more likely to be interrupted not only by their colleagues but also by the parties who appear before them.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Well, Justice Jackson is having none of that. In her first three months on the bench, Justice Jackson has made her presence felt, emerging as the most active court member during oral arguments.
Ketanji Brown Jackson: "That seems odd. The statute is very clear that's the point of that act. I just wanted to say how complex I was. I'm still a little stuck on your initial argument."
Melissa Harris-Perry: Thus far, she's spoken more than all five men on the court combined, and more than twice as much as any other of the women justices. Indeed, Ketanji Brown Jackson has found her voice and is using it. We love to hear it. All right, Takeaway, you're up-to-date.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of New York Public Radio’s programming is the audio record.