|ICLE, Leading Academics File Amicus Brief Urging the Court to Overturn the FCC’s Illegal Net Neutrality Order|
|Written by Administrator|
Yesterday, the International Center for Law & Economics, together with Professor Gus Hurwitz, Nebraska College of Law, and nine other scholars of law and economics, filed an amicus brief in the DC Circuit explaining why the court should vacate the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order.
“If the 2010 Order was a limited incursion into neighboring territory, the 2015 Order represents the outright colonization of a foreign land, extending FCC control over the Internet far beyond what the Telecommunications Act authorizes." said Geoffrey Manne, Executive Director of the International Center for Law & Economics. “The Commission asserts vast powers — powers that Congress never gave it — not just over broadband but also over the very ‘edge’ providers it claims to be protecting. The court should be very skeptical of the FCC’s claims to pervasive powers over the Internet.”
“Last year, the Supreme Court blocked a similar attempt by the EPA to ‘modernize’ old legislation in a way that gave it expansive new powers,” said Gus Hurwitz, Assistant Professor of Law, Nebraska College of Law. “In its landmark UARG decision, the Court made clear that it won’t allow regulatory agencies to rewrite legislation in an effort to retrofit their statutes to their preferred regulatory regimes. But that’s exactly what the FCC did here: Invoking Title II, admitting that it was unworkable for the Internet, and then trying to ‘tailor’ the statute to avoid its worst excesses. That the FCC felt the need for such sweeping forbearance should have indicated to it that it had ‘taken an interpretive wrong turn’ in understanding the statute Congress gave it.”
“Internet regulation is a question of ‘vast economic and political significance,’ yet the FCC didn’t even bother to weigh the costs and benefits of its rule,” said Ben Sperry, Associate Director of the International Center for Law & Economics. “FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler never misses an opportunity to talk about the the Internet as ‘the most important network known to Man.’ So why did he and the previous FCC Chairman ignore requests from other commissioners for serious, independent economic analysis of the supposed problem and the best way to address it? Why did the FCC rush to adopt a plan that had the effect of blocking the Federal Trade Commission from applying its consumer protection laws to the Internet? For all the FCC’s talk about protecting consumers, it appears that its real agenda may be simply expanding its own power.”
Joining ICLE on the brief are:
Read more of ICLE’s work on net neutrality and Title II, including: