Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court rejects net neutrality appeals after year delay

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected AT&T's appeal to overturn the 2015 net neutrality rules.                  CNET  Marguerite Reardon The U.S. Supreme Court rejected AT&T's appeal to overturn the 2015 net neutrality rules. CNET Marguerite Reardon
Priscilla Morrison | 06 November, 2018, 13:52

The main remaining issue for the Supreme Court was whether to set aside the 2016 federal appeals court decision that upheld the net neutrality rule as being within the FCC's authority.

The US Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the net neutrality rules that were introduced in 2015, and which have since been rescinded. Providers complained that the rules were overly burdensome and a violation of the FCC's congressionally granted powers; consumer advocates said the rules were necessary as a vital consumer protection. In a related case, California's decision to impose state-level net neutrality rules is being challenged by the broadband industry and Trump administration.

Like the case turned away by the Supreme Court past year, this one was an appeal of a lower court decision upholding a local sheriff's refusal to issue a permit.

The Supreme Court's brief order noted that three of the court's conservative justices - Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch - would have thrown out the appeals court decision.

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In this case, the decision goes against the Pai/Trump doctrine and bolsters the Wheeler/Obama version of net neutrality.

Net neutrality has become a rallying cry for internet activists and those on the political left, who say that if companies are able to "throttle" traffic to and from some sites, then it would ruin the free-flowing nature of the online community. Newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts both recused themselves from the petitions. In the world of net neutrality, there is no issue too small to be argued over. Meanwhile, Roberts has a financial portfolio that includes investments in Time Warner, according to Bloomberg's Matt Schettenhelm.

The net neutrality repeal was a win for providers like Comcast Corp CMCSA.O , AT&T Inc T.N and Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N .

The legal battle over net neutrality will continue and could potentially reach the Supreme Court again in a separate case. President Donald Trump's administration urged the court to take that step, which would have stripped the ruling of any force as a precedent. "It actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet policies. Let's call this interesting".

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