Supreme Court declines to take on net neutrality challenges in blow to telecom industry

FAN Editor

In a setback for industry groups, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced that it would not take up challenges to Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations that barred internet service providers from giving certain customers preferential treatment.

The Trump administration overturned those regulations last year, and since June they have not been in effect. But a range of challenges to the regulations remained before the court, brought by groups like the United States Telecom Association, AT&T and The Internet & Television Association.

The court’s decision will leave in effect a decision from a federal appeals court in Washington upholding the constitutionality of the regulations. That means the decision can be relied on for precedent in the future.

Three of the court’s conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said they would have vacated that decision. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh recused themselves.

Net neutrality has proved divisive, with proponents arguing that it is the “foundation of a free and open internet” and opponents casting it as an unlawful seizure of power by the FCC.

The FCC’s decision to do away with the Obama-era regulations is now facing a court challenge in Washington, brought by a group including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission.

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