Supreme Court ends legal fight over Obama-era net neutrality rules

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The Trump administration is seeking the conservative-leaning Supreme Court's endorsement to kill the "Dreamers" program, which protects about 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

The appeal sought to challenge a lower court ruling that upheld Obama-era net neutrality rules that banned Internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to certain websites, CNBC reported. "Todays decision is not an indication of the Courts views on the merits but simply reflects the fact that there was nothing left for the Court to rule on".

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The Supreme Court's brief order noted that Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas granted the industry's request to set aside the decision.

"The court's newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, was expected to recuse himself from voting on the petitions because he had participated in the cases while on the D.C. Circuit, and he did". Regardless, net neutrality supporters were encouraged by the Court's decision.

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The FCC itself also was in favor of voiding the decision that upheld its 2015-era rules, according to Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat on the commission. In his ruling on U.S. Telecom Association, Kavanaugh called net neutrality "unlawful" as the 1934 Communications Act "does not supply clear congressional authorization for the FCC to impose common carrier regulation" on internet service providers (ISPs). By declining all seven petitions, the Supreme Court maintains the lower courts' precedents declaring net neutrality a lawful federal regulation.

For proponents of net neutrality, Monday's Supreme Court decision represents a victory.

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The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in December along party lines to reverse the rules adopted under Obama in 2015 that had barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization. "The ISPs went all out to push FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to repeal the agency's net neutrality rules - and then ran to the Supreme Court looking for a do-over on earlier cases that rightly upheld those rules". The Pai-led FCC is defending its net neutrality repeal against a lawsuit filed by dozens of litigants, including 22 state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies.

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