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The Fate of Net Neutrality Hinges on the House

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WASHINGTON — On Monday, the United States Supreme Court denied the phone and cable lobby’s attempts to vacate earlier appellate-court decisions upholding the strong Net Neutrality rules adopted in 2015.

Internet service providers and their allies sought Supreme Court review of two earlier D.C. Circuit decisions upholding the 2015 rules, despite the Trump FCC's 2017 repeal of those same rules and the Title II legal foundation for them.

ISP trade associations, joined by AT&T and a handful of open-internet opponents, asked the Supreme Court to vacate those well-reasoned decisions in a misguided attempt to weaken the cases’ precedential value.

In September, Free Press filed a Supreme Court brief in opposition to the industry’s petition for certiorari. Other Net Neutrality advocates likewise opposed the ISPs’ request in separate filings.

Free Press’ brief explained that there was no reason to grant cert because there is no conflict between different appellate circuits’ decisions, nor any conflict between the D.C. Circuit’s decision and controlling Supreme Court precedent.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

“We’re grateful that a majority of the justices saw through the flimsy arguments made by AT&T and Comcast lobbyists. The ISPs went all out to push FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to repeal the agency’s Net Neutrality rules — and then ran to the Supreme Court looking for a do-over on earlier cases that rightly upheld those rules.

“The lobbyists and lawyers for these companies are always talking out of both sides of their mouths. They suddenly claim to support open-internet protections, yet work feverishly to undermine any rules in Congress, in the courts, at the FCC, and now in statehouses too — no matter how strong the popular support and legal foundation for these vital communications rights may be.

“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.”

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