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US: SCOTUS net neutrality rules fight

 |  November 5, 2018

On Monday, November 5, the Supreme Court announced that it will not hear a closely watched case over the future of the Internet, rejecting a petition by telecom industry groups to consider net neutrality, reported Reuters.

Three of the justices—Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, —would have voted to take up the case, according to the court’s announcement, and wipe off the books a lower court’s decision backing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules, which were originally passed in 2015. But there were not enough justices for a majority, after Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh recused themselves.

The high court’s decision not to throw out the 2016 US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling leaves a legal precedent in place that could help net neutrality supporters in any future legal battle if that policy is ever re-introduced.

The rules championed by former President Barack Obama, intended to safeguard equal access to content on the internet, were opposed by President Trump. The Trump administration and the telecom industry had wanted to erase the 2016 ruling even though the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission in December voted to repeal the net neutrality rules. The policy reversal went into effect in June.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who backed the net neutrality order in 2015, said on Twitter that the Commission had “actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet policies. But today the Supreme Court refused to do so.”
The Justice Department also has filed suit to block California’s state net neutrality law from taking effect in January. The state agreed in October to delay enforcement of the law pending appeals of the net neutrality reversal.

Full Content: Reuters

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