Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Supporter of Net Neutrality Ginger Gibson (L) of Valley Glen, California, protests the FCC's recent decision to repeal the program in Los Angeles, California, November 28, 2017. (Photo: Kyle Grillot / Reuters)

Lawsuit Brought by Jeff Sessions Against California for New Law Defending Net Neutrality Denounced as 'Absurd'

"This complaint is completely absurd given that the same lawyers and lobbyists from AT&T and Comcast were the chief culprits in destroying the blanket federal protections on the books."

Jon Queally

Denounced as a clear effort to appease the telecom giants who have been the main drivers behind destroying the egalitarian principles that insulate the internet from corporate control, the U.S. Department of Justice didn't even wait until morning to launch a federal lawsuit against the state of California after Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday evening signed into a far-reaching net neutrality bill.

In a late-night statement supporting the DOJ lawsuit, Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai claimed the state-level effort was "illegal" and said the GOP-controlled commission under his command would assist in the court challenge.

While calling the bill signed into law "a significant milestone in the effort to restore essential communications rights for everyone in America," Matt Wood, from the Free Press Action Fund, said the move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions—and backed by Pai—makes clear the Republican Party's ongoing intentions to make sure companies like Verizon and Comcast get what they want.

"The Trump administration's decision to sue the state of California just for stepping in to fill the void created when Ajit Pai wrongly took away these congressionally granted rights is unfortunate and hypocritical in the extreme," Woods stated. "As the preemption suit moves forward, cable and phone lobbyists will wail about how they can’t comply with a patchwork of different state laws prohibiting broadband providers from unreasonably discriminating against internet users’ basic rights. This complaint is completely absurd given that the same lawyers and lobbyists from AT&T and Comcast were the chief culprits in destroying the blanket federal protections on the books."

Offering an opposing view from within the FCC, Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel countered Pai's support for the lawsuit by applauding California for its effort.

"A hefty thank you to the Golden State for your effort to get right what the FCC got wrong when it wiped out our open internet protections late last year," Rosenworcel said in a statement on Monday. "The FCC's misguided decision to roll back net neutrality gave broadband providers the green light to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content.  That's why the California law is a welcome development—it's good for consumers, good for businesses, and good for anyone who connects and creates online."

While Trump's DOJ had chosen the courts as the next avenue to undermine online protections, Rosenworcel said the "regrettable" decision only "confirms that Washington is not listening to the American people."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·

Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo