ACA Seeks Supremes Review of Net-Neutrality Decision

Says it has major implications for public and providers

The American Cable Association joined NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, USTelecom and others in asking the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a lower court ruling that the FCC was within its authority to reclassify ISPs as Title II common carriers in the 2015 Open Internet Order.

Related: NCTA Appeals Net Neutrality Decision to SCOTUS

The ACA told the court that it should hear the appeal because the FCC did an about face on its classification of ISPs as Title I information services over vigorous and multiple dissents in the initial ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and the decision by the full court not to hear an appeal of that panel decision.

"The D.C. Circuit erred in upholding the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order, which should have been overturned because the FCC lacked authority from Congress to subject broadband Internet service providers to common-carrier regulation, failed to adequately justify the change from its previous approach, and entirely failed to take into account that broadband providers had relied on decades of FCC precedent that was eliminated in a flash," said ACA president Matt Polka.

Related: 'Consumer Reports' Survey: Majority Back Current Title II Rules

ACA told the court that the Title II ruling has "enormous economic implications — for the American public and providers of Internet access services alike." That is because is "raises important legal questions about the scope of the FCC’s legal authority over the Internet. And it implicates fundamental questions regarding the scope and nature of judicial review of agency action resolving “major questions” under Chevron U.S.A.," and other precedential cases."

Chevron is the doctrine that courts give deference to the subject matter expertise of agencies, which critics of the doctrine, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, have suggested is tantamount to courts abdicating their authority over reviewing such decisions.

Related: Group Criticizes Planned Gorsuch Speech at Trump Venue

ACA said that if the FCC votes to reclassify ISPs to a Title I service, the court should vacate the D.C. court decision as moot so it can't be cited as precedent.

ACA pointed out that others who filed petitions Thursday included "AT&T (focusing on the statutory arguments), USTelecom/CenturyLink (focusing on the Major Questions doctrine), NCTA (focusing on the Administrative Procedure Act violations), Daniel Berninger (VoIP provider focusing on First Amendment issues)."

Sept. 28 was the deadline for filings after Chief Justice John Roberts back in July extended the time for filing those appeals to Sept. 28.