FCC Says Supremes' Decision Backs Its Open Internet Order Authority

Says Commission's Interpretation of ISP Regulatory Status Deserves Court Deference
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The FCC has told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the commission tower-siting case (City of Arlington v. FCC) means the agency's interpretation of an ISP in the Open Internet order is due deference by the court.

The appeals court is hearing Verizon's challenge to that Open Internet order.

In a filing to the court Thursday, following a similar one by Verizon citing another recent court case, the FCC pointed to that Supreme Court decision, which held that an agency's interpretation of the limits of its own authority should be given so called "Chevron deference" by appeals courts asked to make a ruling on a challenge to that authority.

"Chevron deference thus clearly applies to the Commission's interpretation of the statutes on which its authority rests in this [Open Internet] case," FCC attorneys told the court in the filing. "[T]he agency's reasonable interpretations of provisions in the Communications Act and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 warrant deference."

The appeals court has yet to schedule oral argument in the case, but look for FCC lawyers to make the Supreme Court decision an important part of that argument.