Supreme Court Throws Out Industry Appeal of Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

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The Department of Justice has once again petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene in pending cases over the future of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that protects immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children.

In this October 9, 2018 photo, police office guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington.

DACA, which was created after President Barack Obama signed an Executive Branch memorandum, gives some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children the opportunity to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco announced Monday evening that the Department of Justice filed a legal request, known as a writ of certiorari, asking that the Supreme Court take up the case to prevent the issue from remaining unresolved for the coming year.

"It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case", the Supreme Court's February order read. "USTelecom will continue to support that order from challenges in Washington, D.C. and state capitals".

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In that case - like in the other lawsuits over this issue - challengers say that the White House acted "capriciously and arbitrarily" in ending DACA.

The appeal was unusual in that the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules have already been repealed under the current administration, following a Commission vote last December in which members voted 3-2 along party lines. Four of nine justices must agree to hear a case, but only three voted to grant the petitions. "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". Roberts owned stock in AT&T-owned Time Warner, while Kavanaugh took part in the case when he was a judge on the DC Circuit appeals court, Bloomberg Supreme Court Reporter Greg Stohr noted.

Today, the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the telecommunications industry seeking to vacate the D.C. Circuit's 2016 decision to uphold the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules.

The legality of the separate DACA program for undocumented immigrant youths had never been tested in court (although an expansion of that program fell with the court rulings against the program for undocumented parents). The change fits with the deregulatory stance of the Trump administration.

Lyle Denniston has been writing about the Supreme Court since 1958.

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