US Supreme Court upholds Obama-era net neutrality rules

US Supreme Court ends fight over Obama-era net neutrality rules

The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a group of long-pending appeals from the broadband industry over the Obama-era "net neutrality" rule, which barred internet service providers from giving preferential treatment to some web traffic.

"The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied", the official announcement said, but then added: "Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would grant the petitions, vacate the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and remand to that court with instructions to dismiss the cases as moot".

A federal circuit court of appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld those rules as legal - though under the Trump administration the FCC has canceled them.

Obama's rules, meant to safeguard equal access to content on the internet, were opposed by Trump, a Republican.

Democratic FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who had supported the 2015 Net Neutrality regulations, said, "it wasn't enough for this FCC to roll back It actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet policies". The policy reversal went into effect in June.

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Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh recused themselves from the case.

The issue of net neutrality continues to play out in court. The Supreme Court's decision won't make a huge difference to an ongoing federal overhaul of net neutrality regulations in the short term, but it could set a precedent for future court cases.

The Supreme Court is refusing a new invitation to rule on gun rights, leaving in place California restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in public.

The Justice Department has also 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. That opinion, in 2016, held that the Federal Communications Commission had acted within its powers when it approved sweeping new rules the year before that imposed new obligations on Internet providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. It was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc, which have said the repeal could lead to higher costs.

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