U.S. Court Upholds FCC Net Neutrality Rules, but Appeals Are Certain
NEWS ANALYSIS: Some self-described Internet activists celebrate the court ruling while other groups promise appeals to the full court or to the Supreme Court.When a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia handed down its much anticipated ruling on June 14 supporting the Federal Communication Commission's Title II reclassification, it was immediately clear that all sides of the conflict had their press release machines primed and ready to launch. The resulting flood of conflicting statements made it clear that, regardless of the decision the three-judge panel announced, the legal battle is far from over. This was confirmed later the same day when TechFreedom, a non-partisan technology think tank that had intervened in the legal tussle involving the FCC, cable companies, cell carriers and Internet service providers, announced it would appeal the court's decision. The organization discussed its appeal strategy during a press call. TechFreedom says it will request a review by a full "en banc" Court of Appeals panel, which for this district would involve probably nine judges. If that doesn't work, the organization plans to appeal to the US Supreme Court. A spokesperson for TechFreedom said those moves will take place regardless of the plans of the other petitioners in the case, but indicated the group expects those parties to follow the same path.
The petitioners in the case included large cable and backbone providers, wireless companies, entrepreneurs and others that are claiming the reclassification of the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act was beyond the statutory authority of the FCC, it endangered the First Amendment rights of users, and it violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The petitioners also claim the FCC's actions were arbitrary and capricious.