As much as I’d like to think that this ruling signals the death of net neutrality, I’m still skeptical. Here’s the news:

The Federal Communications Commission does not have the legal authority to slap Net neutrality regulations on Internet providers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

A three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. unanimously tossed out the FCC’s August 2008 cease and desist order against Comcast, which had taken measures to slow BitTorrent transfers and had voluntarily ended them earlier that year.

Because the FCC “has failed to tie its assertion” of regulatory authority to any actual law enacted by Congress, the agency does not have the authority to regulate an Internet provider’s network management practices, wrote Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Tuesday’s decision could doom one of the signature initiatives of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat. Last October, Genachowski announced plans to begin drafting a formal set of Net neutrality rules–even though Congress has not given the agency permission to begin. That push is opposed by Verizon and other broadband providers.

If I’ve learned anything about the Obama administration, it’s that they won’t let a court ruling stifle their enthusiasm for shutting down free speech. I cite President Obama’s lecturing SCOTUS during his SOTU. Much like Rep. Phil Hare, President Obama, Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi don’t care what the Constitution says or how the SCOTUS rules. If the Constitution or SCOTUS get in their way, they’ll simply attempt to do what they want through another channel. That’s why winning big this election and the 2012 elections are so important.

We can’t afford to have an administration in office that’s willing to ruthlessly push people and the Constitution aside if they want something.

I’d further add that Neil Steven’s post makes a most salient point:

Judge David Tatel, Clinton appointed successor of now-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wrote for the court that since even the FCC acknowledged it had no “express statutory authority” to go after Comcast for regulating use of Bittorrent on its network, the Commission had to show that the regulation was “reasonably ancillary” to the authority it does have. The FCC did not, and so the FCC’s order to Comcast has been thrown out.

I’m no lawyer, but having lost decisively at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals seems to set a dangerous precedent for the FCC’s future ability to regulate ISPs. That is why the FCC has a plan: reclassify (or deem) ISPs to be something different under the law (make them a Title II service under the Communications Act, which former Chairman Michael Powell says they never, ever have been), and then reassert (or pass) this authority regardless of what the court said.

Neil’s right. Losing unanimously indicates that SCOTUS won’t likely overturn the DC Circuit’s ruling. That the judge that wrote the ruling is a Clinton-appointed judge is telling, too. While I won’t be so bold as to predict a unanimous verdict if it reaches the Supreme Court, I’m willing to say that it isn’t likely that we’ll see a 5-4 ruling either.

Nonetheless, Neil is right in saying that we need to stay ever-vigilant in this fight against the Party of Censorship. After all, they’ve made it abundantly clear that they intend to limit speech via whatever method works.

The FCC’s attempt to regulate the internet indicates just how radical this administration is.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

2 Responses to “The Death Of Net Neutrality?”

  • eric z. says:

    Opposing net neutrality is like hating motherhood and apple pie.

  • Brent Metzler says:

    Why would you support Net Neutrality anyways? Net neutrality forces us to have a slower, more congested, less useful internet.

    Not my idea for what the internet should be.

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