- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2018

The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not hear challenges to Obama-era net neutrality rules, declining to wade in on an ever-changing internet business landscape.

Several broadband companies had asked the high court to take up the matter, saying the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its powers when it announced new rules in 2015 requiring internet service providers to treat all online traffic the same.

A federal circuit court of appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld those rules as legal — though under the Trump administration the FCC has canceled them.

That’s left a confusing legal landscape.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have taken up the case and vacated the lower court ruling as moot, presumably because of the Trump administration changes.

It takes four of the nine justices to agree to hear a case. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John. G. Roberts Jr. did not take part in decision-making on the case, leaving the four Democratic-appointed justices in control of the decision.

Net neutrality has become a rallying cry for internet activists and those on the political left, who say that if companies are able to “throttle” traffic to and from some sites, then it would ruin the free-flowing nature of the online community.

Opponents, though, say the internet thrived without a net neutrality policy for two decades.

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