Attorney Generals from 21 states, Washington D.C., and public interest groups filed the first major lawsuit Tuesday to block the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality repeal.
The future of the internet in today's society has been an area of high concern for many Americans, and this filing marks the beginning of what is projected to be a high stakes legal battle.
According to the Washington Post, the suit filed Tuesday by the attorney generals requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit review the FCC’s new policy to determine whether it is illegal and unconstitutional.
This filing comes shortly after Senate Democrats announced that they were in search of their 51st vote to restore net neutrality. Democrats said on Tuesday that all 49 members of their caucus had agreed to sign on to a resolution that would overturn the FCC repeal of net neutrality rules, the New York Times reports. In addition, they have also gained the support of one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine).
For those who are unclear on the issues of net neutrality, Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led a vote back in December to dismantle the rules of net neutrality. This decision has caused outrage amongst the masses with many people unsure of what this means for the future of the internet. The argument by Republicans in favor of the dismantling was that the existing rules stymied industry investment. However, Democrats countered that the rules served as a vital consumer protection.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is the leader of the states' suit. He says the FCC’s repeal of the net neutrality rules was “arbitrary” and “capricious” and violates federal law, according to the Post.
The attorney generals listed in the suit are the District of Columbia, New York, California, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington are all part of the suit. All 22 are Democrats.
In a statement, Senate Democrats said the stage has been set for a 50-50 tie vote that would have to be broken by Vice President Mike Pence. This is why the Democrats are searching for one more vote to ensure their bill passes the Senate. Even still, the fight is not over as the House will have to pass the bill as well. And after that, President Trump will have to sign it. Meaning the fight for net neutrality is going to be a tough one.