×

Supreme Court Rejects Net Neutrality Case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a set of robust net neutrality rules put in place by the FCC in 2015, but this is by no means the end of the legal thicket over rules of the road for the internet.

A federal appeals court had upheld the rules, which prohibit internet providers from blocking or throttling content or selling off “fast lanes” of traffic so websites can get speedier access to consumers. 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.

The FCC’s rules, though were largely repealed by the Trump era FCC in December. That action is also facing its own set of legal challenges in lawsuits filed by public interest groups and state attorneys general.

The Supreme Court’s decision to deny review was 4-3. The court said that Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the petition, vacate the appeals court judgment and remand to that court “with instructions to dismiss the cases as moot.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not take part in consideration of the petitions. It’s unclear why Roberts did not participate, but Kavanaugh wrote a dissent in the case last year, when he sat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote on Twitter, “It wasn’t enough for this FCC to roll back net neutrality. It actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet politics. Today the Supreme Court refused to do so. Let’s call this interesting.”

Had the Supreme Court reviewed the case and overturned the 2015 net neutrality rules, it could have made it easier for the Republican-led FCC to defend its actions to repeal the regulations.

Matt Wood, policy director for the public interest group Free Press, said, “There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to take this case, and today’s denial puts to bed the chances of upending the correct appellate-court decisions.

“Now we look forward to filing our final brief in the new appeal challenging the Pai FCC’s mistakes, and to making the argument in front of the D.C. Circuit this February in this latest round to save these crucial rules.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, “While we believed that the appropriate procedure here was to vacate the prior D.C. Circuit decision, that decision makes clear that the Commission has the discretion to classify broadband as an information service so we are confident that it supports the Commission’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.  Indeed, our brief in the pending D.C. Circuit litigation assumed that the prior decision would not be vacated.”

 

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Justice

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Treated for Pancreatic Cancer

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been cleared “definitively” of pancreatic cancer after spending three weeks undergoing treatment in New York City for the illness. The Supreme Court issued a statement on Friday saying that the Justice responded well to radiation treatment. In early July, Ginsberg underwent a regular blood test that came back abnormal, and [...]

  • Taylor SwiftTeen Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    Taylor Swift Says She's 'Remorseful' For Not Getting Involved in 2016 Election

    Taylor Swift says she feels “really remorseful for not saying anything” during Trump’s run for presidency in 2016, per an interview with the Guardian published today. The singer points to her negative public image during the time of the election as one reason she stayed uninvolved, but explained that she would’ve endorsed Hillary Clinton for [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Pod Save America Hosts on Trump

    'Pod Save America' Hosts on Trump, the Democratic Primary and What's Wrong With Cable News

    Like many Democrats, Tanya Somanader was blindsided by the 2016 presidential election. A veteran of the Obama White House and a former speechwriter and digital specialist for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Somanader was gearing up for a Hillary Clinton administration. Instead, she had to grapple with the reality of a Donald Trump presidency. “A lot [...]

  • Sean Spicer Dancing With the Stars

    Sean Spicer Hopes 'Dancing With the Stars' Gig Will 'Move the Country Forward'

    In the face of a swift backlash, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he hoped his role as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” can help “move the country forward in a positive way.” Spicer told CNN on Thursday that his “DWTS” posting was about entertainment, not politics. ABC revealed Spicer [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content