Obama “Committed” To Net Neutrality Despite Court Ruling

White House photo/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4050328699/">Pete Souza</a> (<a href="http://www.usa.gov/copyright.shtml">Government Work</a>)

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


A federal appeals court dealt a major defeat to proponents of net neutrality on Tuesday morning, ruling that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the power to require internet service providers to treat different types of content equally. The ruling strengthens the hand of service providers who want to create “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” for different types of content on the internet. (So-called “net neutrality” rules would prohibit that practice.) President Barack Obama hasn’t reviewed the court’s decision yet, but he remains “committed” to net neutrality, press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The court fight started last year, when the FCC issued rules aimed at forcing internet service providers to conform to net neutrality principles. But Comcast, a major cable and internet provider, sued to prevent the FCC from enforcing the regulations. Comcast wanted to reserve the right to carry different content at different speeds. The FCC, Comcast argued, did not have the legal authority to prevent Comcast from doing that. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit unanimously agreed, and threw out a FCC order against the company.

Since the court basically decided that the FCC didn’t have the power to enforce its rules, several Democratic legislators have decided to redouble their push to give the agency more power. Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill last year called the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act” that would do just that. “Clearly, the Court’s decision must not be the final word on this vitally important matter,” Markey said in a statement.

The DC Circuit’s decision in this case also draws attention to the two vacancies on its bench. President Obama could have nominated judges to fill those spots, which would have moved the Court’s balance from 6-3 in favor of GOP appointees to 6-5. But the spots, like 103 other judicial vacancies, remain unfilled. (Thirty-eight of Obama’s court nominees are being held up in the Senate, but he hasn’t nominated anyone for the other 65 spots.) Obama has a chance to reshape the federal judiciary if he nominates the right people. But when David Corn asked Gibbs why no one had yet been nominated for the two empty spots on the DC Circuit, the press secretary said he didn’t know.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate