The Supreme Court said on Monday that there would not be a closely watched case on the future of the Internet – a petition from the telecom industry to test net neutrality is rejected, with the principle that ISPs should treat all online content equally.
Three of the judges – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil M. Gorsuch – had responded to the court's ruling and seized the lower court's ruling. Originally, they were passed in 2015. But there was not enough legal ownership for a majority after Supreme Judge John G. Roberts Jr. and Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh retired. (Roberts & # 39; s financial statements for the past year showed that he owned shares in Time Warner, a company now owned by AT & T under the name WarnerMedia, while Kavanaugh participated in the case as a judge in the lower court .)
As a result, the decision of the US Court of Appeals is for the D.C. Circuit. In this opinion, it was decided in 2016 that the FCC had exercised its powers when it adopted comprehensive regulations last year that imposed new obligations on Internet service providers, such as AT & T, Comcast and Verizon.
The FCC rules prohibited operators from blocking or slowing down websites. In addition, they were prohibited from offering websites faster delivery to consumers for additional new fees. Suppliers complained that the regulations were overburdening and violating Congressional powers of the FCC. Consumer advocates said the rules were essential to protect consumers. The DC Circuit confirmed the regulations, causing the industry associations to escalate the case to the Supreme Court.
But even as the Supreme Court weighed up the appeal, the FCC came under republican leader Ajit Pai to reverse these very rules. The new FCC voted in 2017 to reject much of its authority over Internet service providers and transferred much of the responsibility for net neutrality to a sister agency, the Federal Trade Commission. The repeal came into force this summer.
The GOP's efforts to lift the FCC's net neutrality rules led to a separate round of litigation as tech companies and consumer groups blocked deregulation. This lawsuit, which also before the D.C. Circuit pending, is now fast becoming the center of the judicial dispute over the net neutrality. The Supreme Court decides not to hear the case of net neutrality. The Department of Justice has also agreed to lift its lawsuit against California over the state's new Net Neutrality Act, at least until the case before the D.C. Circuit is solved.
Internet service providers who had petitioned the Supreme Court said they supported an open Internet.
"Instead of back-and-forth regulations and lengthy court cases, it is now time for Congress to pass a bipartisan law to solve this problem once and for all," said CTIA, the leading mobile communications trade association in Washington.
Proponents of the now-defunct FCC rules state that the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the industry's appeal strengthens their current litigation before the DC circuit. As the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the regulations, the statement helps reverse the lawsuit against the FCC, said John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge, a consumer representative organization.
"This means that the prior decision for the current FCC and for the DC circuit that hears the current challenge is binding," said Bergmayer.