The Supreme Court won't take up net neutrality - this time

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AFP Getty Images

The Supreme Court said it wouldn't hear arguments in a challenge to the Obama era net neutrality rules that the FCC adopted in 2015 and which was upheld by lower federal courts. AT&T and other telecoms had asked the high court to void the ruling; the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality past year.

Still, the high court's rejection preserves the appeals court's decision as a possible precedent and makes it even more likely that the issue will resurface if the FCC shifts its makeup - something that would happen if Democrats are able to win back the White House in 2020. The justices did not add any new cases to their docket for the term - they did that on Friday afternoon - nor did they call for the views of the USA solicitor general in any cases. The Supreme Court also declined to remove the precedential value of the D.C. Circuit's 2016 opinion.

The Supreme Court's brief order noted that Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas granted the industry's request to set aside the decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court for a second straight year refused on Monday to hear a challenge to California's limits on carrying handguns in public, dealing another setback to gun rights proponents.

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The administration's attempt to end the program previous year was rejected by multiple federal courts and the Department of Homeland Security was ordered to continue accepting renewal applications while the case is adjudicated.

The Supreme Court case therefore could not have had any effect upon the now-repealed regulations themselves, but aimed rather to challenge the FCC's authority to pass such regulations at all.

"This decision is not surprising because the D.C. Circuit's original decision was superseded by the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order that correctly restored broadband as an information service", Jonathan Spalter, the CEO of USTelecom, said in a statement. They know their repeal of net neutrality was so filled with procedural missteps and outright fraud that they're anxious it will be overturned by next year's net neutrality lawsuits, opening arguments for which begin in February.

The FCC's repeal of net neutrality is also the subject of separate legal battles, after it was challenged by tech companies and advocacy groups, in addition to more than 20 USA states.

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