Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Supreme Court rejects net neutrality appeal

AFP  Getty Images AFP Getty Images
Jean Garcia | 06 November, 2018, 13:51

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the broadband industry's challenge of Obama-era net neutrality rules. It's a victory for net neutrality advocates, as it maintains pre-existing legal precedent necessary to protect net neutrality.

The FCC, under Chairman Ajit Pai, abolished net neutrality rules in June, adopting the deregulatory approach favored by the Trump administration and the telecommunications industry.

In this case, the decision goes against the Pai/Trump doctrine and bolsters the Wheeler/Obama version of net neutrality. In the world of net neutrality, there is no issue too small to be argued over.

"The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied", the official announcement said, but then added: "Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would grant the petitions, vacate the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and remand to that court with instructions to dismiss the cases as moot".

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Industry trade group USTelecom, one of the groups that challenged the 2015 net neutrality rules, said the high court's action was "not surprising".

Chief Justice John Roberts and new Justice Brett Kavanaugh didn't participate in the Supreme Court's action. Roberts owned stock in AT&T-owned Time Warner, while Kavanaugh took part in the case when he was a judge on the DC Circuit appeals court, Bloomberg Supreme Court Reporter Greg Stohr noted. In imposing the rules, the FCC reclassified internet service as a common carrier, a regulatory maneuver that was met with staunch opposition from major internet providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. If the Supreme Court had accepted the petitions or vacated the lower court rulings, doing so would have strengthened the FCC's repeal. That suit, which is also pending before the D.C. Circuit, is quickly becoming the center of the legal battle over net neutrality now, with the Supreme Court deciding not to hear its net neutrality case. "It actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet policies".

The Supreme Court is refusing a new invitation to rule on gun rights, leaving in place California restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in public. "Let's call this interesting".

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