The fight to reverse the FCC's decision to end regulations colloquially known as net neutrality protections has opened a new front thanks to a new petition filed by numerous state attorneys general. Filed in United States District Court of Appeals in Washington and led by New York State Attorney General Schneiderman, there are no fewer than 22 state attorneys general involved in the latest effort to defend net neutrality. Cosigners on the document include those from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington DC.
In short, the document filed on January 16th calls for the court to review whether or not the FCC's order known as the Restoring Internet Freedom Act is in conflict with a number of previously enacted laws, acts, or the Constitution itself. More directly, it asks for a determination as to whether the FCC's move is "arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion," with a specific focus on determining whether or not the FCC's order "violates federal law, the Constitution, or the Communications Act of 1934." The final item on the list is particularly interesting since the Communications Act of 1934 has been amended several times to include more recent technologies as they emerge. Any ruling from the court is likely to set a long-standing legal precedent with regard to what is included in that Act and may have an impact on future inclusions under it.
This is just the latest in a string of discussions, arguments, and actions taken by those seeking to defend the net neutrality regulations which were put in place during the previous administration. Supporters of net neutrality repeal have maintained that the regulations are too restrictive while only producing minimal results but that has been met with equal fervor from the other side, particularly from The Internet Association, which is primarily comprised of members of the tech industry who claim ISPs will abuse their control of the flow of information as leverage in the market environment. However, the newly filed petition may be among the more significant responses to the FCC's actions since it comes directly from the states themselves. There's no way to tell when a response to the petition will be made and it doesn't look like the issue will be resolved anytime soon. In the meantime, anybody interested in reading the full petition can refer to the source link below.