ST. LOUIS – President Joe Biden’s sweeping student loan forgiveness plan is now in the hands of a federal judge in St. Louis. Judge John Ross heard arguments over Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s push for an injunction against the president and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

The U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri in St. Louis took center stage for the showdown over whether the president can forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student loans.

Attorneys general from Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Arkansas have joined Missouri as plaintiffs seeking an injunction to stop the president and Secretary Cardona from cancelling partial or even total student debt for more than 30 million Americans, which the states maintain could cost half a trillion dollars.

“This is $500 billion,” Missouri Solicitor General Joshua Divine told FOX 2 after Monday’s hearing. “That’s almost two years of the GDP of the state of Missouri. This is all going from teachers, truckers, and farmers to people who haven’t paid off their student loans.”

Divine argued for the plaintiffs in the case. Attorneys for the Department of Education did not comment after the hearing.

In court, they argued that student loan forgiveness programs like one called SAVE for low-income borrowers, are rooted in the Higher Education Act, first passed by Congress in 1965.

The president’s new policy includes the cancellation of all student debt for those who’ve been repaying loans for 20 years or more and the cancellation of up to $20,000 in interest for those who now owe more than their original loan.

Though the power is not expressly granted in the act, the president says it’s allowed through the secretary of education’s rule-making authority.

“My administration has taken the most significant action to provide student relief ever in the history of this country,” Biden said in April when announcing expanded student debt forgiveness in Wisconsin.

The United States Supreme Court blocked a similar plan from President Biden last year. His legal team unsuccessfully argued that the HEROES Act, which Congress passed for student debt relief in times of emergency, allowed the policy.

“I think it’s pretty notable that this is their plan B,” Divine said of the current arguments to allow the President to cancel student debt without direct consent from Congress. “They thought their first attempt was going to be their better statute. That’s why they went with this. This is their backup plan. I think given that we prevailed in the Supreme Court on the last one, I expect we’ll prevail on this one, too.”

Judge Ross cut off arguments after about 90 minutes on Monday. He realized time was of the essence with full implementation of the plan set to take effect in July.

Expect a ruling from him within the next two weeks, he said.