Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Supreme Court rejects net neutrality appeal but FCC ruling stands

Supreme Court rejects net neutrality appeal but FCC ruling stands

The Supreme Court decided on Monday that it will not consider a series of challenges from telecom companies to Obama-era net neutrality rules created to bar internet service providers from manipulating loading speeds for specific websites or apps.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to vacate several court rulings that supported the Obama-era Federal Communications Commissions' net neutrality regulations, Reuters reports. While neither of the latter Justices cited a reason for dismissing themselves from the appeal, Justice Kavanaugh had been involved in the initial ruling while seated on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lower court rulings left the 700,000 protected but prevented any more from registering for the program. Chief Justice John Roberts and new Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh were both recused from the case.

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas would have granted the industry's request. The justices did not add any new cases to their docket for the term - they did that on Friday afternoon - nor did they call for the views of the US solicitor general in any cases.

In this case, the decision goes against the Pai/Trump doctrine and bolsters the Wheeler/Obama version of net neutrality. Jonathan Spalter, CEO of USTelecom, and other supporters of the Restoring Internet Freedom order, which negated net neutrality, believe broadband is an information service.

Despite the Supreme Court decision to not hear the case, Republicans remain hopeful that the FCC's vote last December to repeal net neutrality rules will be upheld, though that decision is being challenged before the DC Circuit.

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Today, over a year after the petitions seeking review of the D.C. Circuit's decision were filed, a divided Supreme Court simply declined to consider the cases, leaving the D.C. Circuit's decision in place.

That opinion, in 2016, held that the Federal Communications Commission had acted within its powers when it approved sweeping new rules the year before that imposed new obligations on internet providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. It actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet policies.

The issue of net neutrality continues to play out in court.

She added, "Let's call this interesting".

The Justice Department also has filed suit to block California's state net neutrality law from taking effect in January.

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