Trump administration sues California over ‘net neutrality’ law

“The US Justice Department on Sunday sued California to force it to abandon a law, passed earlier in the day, to protect ‘net neutrality’ aimed at requiring all online data to be treated equally,” AFP reports.

“On Sunday California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that re-established net neutrality in his state,” AFP reports. “‘Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy,’ Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. ‘We are confident that we will prevail in this case — because the facts are on our side,’ Sessions said.”

“FCC Chairman Ajit Pai described California’s law as illegal and bad for consumers,” AFP reports. “A number of other US states would also like to implement their own rules to protect net neutrality, although the FCC’s decision clearly forbids such moves. As a result, the Trump administration wants to make an example of California.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 50 states each with different laws is not the right way to go about this.

As we wrote last December regarding the call by U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) for Congress to pass ‘net neutrality’ legislation:

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. The former is harder, but lasting; the latter is quicker, but ephemeral.

Real net neutrality legislation is the solution to the FCC/FTC regulatory seesaw.

U.S. broadband investment is up after end of FCC’s so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ rules – August 31, 2018
Applying the Trump Doctrine to net neutrality – June 15, 2018
FCC’s repeal of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules now official – June 11, 2018
U.S. Senate democrats stage a phony vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – May 16, 2018
U.S. FCC reversal of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules expected to be published Thursday – February 20, 2018
NARUC regulators respond to scrapping of so-called ‘net neutrality’ regulations by U.S. FCC – December 15, 2017
Republican senator calls on U.S. Congress to pass ‘net neutrality’ legislation – December 12, 2017
Millions of people post ‘net neutrality’ comments on FCC docket; many are fake – December 12, 2017
U.S. FCC rejects calls to delay vote to repeal so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – December 5, 2017
Dear Aunt Sadie, please step back from the so-called ‘net neutrality’ ledge – November 27, 2017
U.S. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Killing Obama-era rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ will set the internet free – November 22, 2017
U.S. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: How the FCC can save the open internet – November 21, 2017
U.S. FCC plans total repeal of Obama-era rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 21, 2017
U.S. FCC plans December vote to kill so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 16, 2017
Apple’s call for ‘strong’ net neutrality rules is a hint about the future of its business – September 1, 2017
Apple breaks their silence on ‘net neutrality,’ remains open to alternative sources of legal authority – August 31, 2017
Trump administration gives thumbs up to overturning FCC’s rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – July 19, 2017


  1. I agree that 50 different sets of rules isn’t the most elegant solution but there is nothing inherently wrong with it either. Companies that do business in multiple jurisdictions already deal with varying tax rates, regulations, and more. Insurance, for example, is state regulated. Large insurers deal with it.

    1. If the Administration doesn’t want 50 competing sets of rules, it could easily propose a national set of rules for passage by Congress, adoption by executive order, or regulation by the FCC or FTC. It has affirmatively chosen not to do.

      The Commerce Clause gives Congress authority over interstate commerce, but it does not deny the states’ power to regulate intrastate commerce. The Supremacy Clause says that when the Federal Government has a valid rule, the states can’t adopt conflicting rules. It certainly does not suggest that when the Federal Government fails or refuses to adopt any rule at all, neither can the states. In fact, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments require the exact opposite.

      This lawsuit isn’t just an attack on Net Neutrality. It is a direct assault on the federalism that grounds our constitutional republic. This is just one more of the recent power grabs that seek to eliminate constitutional checks and balances (not just federalism, but also congressional oversight, an independent judiciary, a free press, and more) in favor of an Imperial Presidency.

      1. Where do you get your #FakeNews?
        We have numerous national laws covering the Internet. Obama tried to go one step too far with yet another power grab but Trump rightly reversed it.
        Governor Moonbeam is just being his usual douche bag self working every day to drive California down the toilet.

      2. Hmmm. Article I Section 8 says “The Congress shall have Power…To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”.

        And the 12th amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

        It would seem that means the states can’t regulate interstate commerce. Supremacy clause doesn’t really apply when the constitution is clear. But I am not a constitutional scholar so I could be missing something.

    1. Are you standing on the side of youtube (goog) Netflix Hulu or facebook?
      Thats not the right side either, is it?

      Yes abuse at any part of the chain of information that is todays internet needs to be regulated (and this from a libertarian) but this is just special interest legislation.
      We defiantly need a comprehensive internet bill of right that protects citizens, -the end uses- from large corporations abusing their link in the chain, particularly those corporations who are in a position of monopoly or oligopoly.

      1. Agreed, but are you suggesting in the meantime which may never come because of a corupt, for sale political system, we sit still and allow what the current administration is doing? States should be protecting their citizens until the administration or its successor does what you suggest free corruption and corporate special interests.

        1. This form of “net neutrality” isn’t about protecting consumers. It’s about protecting the profits of high volume internet companies (Goog Netflix hulu, etc) It’s a corporate gambit, part of the “corrupt, for sale political system” you speak of (in this case the one in CA).
          Washington is changing rapidly (as is the internet and information technologies & uses as a whole) and I think we have a real shot at enacting a real internet bill of rights that actually protects (and returns power to) consumers from -all- internet companies (particularly the largest) doing bad things.
          Giving the likes of goog carte blanche is no better (perhaps worse) than giving it to Comcast (in this case the only benefit is the lining of the pockets of google & corrupt CA state politicians, not protecting users )

        2. Yes, that’s precisely what’s being suggested. It’s as bad as MDN’s “I hope checks and balances are in place”. They were, but they were removed loooong ago. If most people had a choice to leave Comcast, then Comcast would have to increase their speeds or lower their prices. Or at least generally be a decent company overall.

          It just appears that most folks either don’t understand what “monopoly” means, or they’re willfully refusing to understand it because if they did, the logical choice would be against what they KNOW is right 🙂

  2. I invoke the “states’ right” doctrine in this case, the right of a smaller governmental entity to self-regulate in the face of the overbearing bigger gubm’nt intrusion.

  3. We need far more than just a law to protect high volume internet companies (ie: youtube Netflix Hulu) Although this needs to be addressed (remember who’s being protected here are HUGE corporations)
    What we need is a comprehensive internet bill of rights which stops ANY link in the chain from unfairly treating packets -all the way down to the users.
    This is not a simple problem but simply slapping a so called net neutrality on one link in the chain has special interest written all over it (and is not necessarily in the end uses best interests)

  4. Good. Though I actually support *real* net neutrality, you can bet that neither Brown nor the Valley do anything without some form of personal benefit out if the kindness if their hearts (you’d have to have a heart, first). All of California should probably be sued into oblivion for the number of Federal laws they break daily. The people participating in the virtual world are not subject to different rules simply because it all happens in cyber space. Modern day Silicon Valley are pathetic in the extreme, and a disgrace to any legitmate tech pioneers of years gone by.

    1. That’s a rather original stereotype of Californians. Did you make it up? It’s exciting, and sure to go viral. Do look at the labels on your food purchases to make certain they’re not from California’s Central Valley – as long as you’re trashing the people, you may as well boycott them too. Politics in this particular state have more to do with agriculture than with technological innovation. Also, while jackasses like Mark Zuckerberg may be pathetic, at least he’s a successful white male entrepreneur. I thought that was supposed to be a good thing – ?

  5. “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai described California’s law as illegal and bad for consumers,”

    Pai saying that is a 100% guarantee the law is legit and works to help and protect consumers.

      1. The poverty rate in California is 16.4%, which ranks #35. Mississippi is #50, with 21.9%. Admittedly, the cost of living is higher in California, and there are a lot of poorly paid agricultural workers and urban poor (the state has three of America’s ten largest cities). It is hard to blame any of those factors on the state government.

  6. Two quick points:

    1. Mr. Sessions wants his cake and to eat it, too. The administration is fine with the latest BS SCOTUS ruling that says a state in which I have no nexus can force me to collect sales tax for them because UPS delivered a product to one of my customers in that state. That’s a clear violation of the Commerce as well as Establishment clauses. But for NN, they sing the opposite tune.

    2. However, CA certainly can regulate the flow of packets *within its borders* as long as it does not discriminate between those that originated out of state versus in-state. States that give advantage to a domestic (home state) entity over a foreign (other state) are in violation of the Constitution.

  7. This issue is a prime example of the hypocrisy of Republican governance.

    They claim the best government is closest to the people and deride a heavy handed distant Federal Government, but they flip the script when they are in charge and it suits their preferences. Same with debt and deficit- they whine when Democrats are in charge, but it does not matter when they tag another Trillion on the National Debt with the GOP Tax Scam #1. #2 just passed the house.

  8. Could someone please point me to how these “net neutrality” laws help me specifically? Everything I see seems to be about big internet companies. Having started working with the Internet in the late 80’s until now I’ve been very happy with the progress so I want to understand what I’m missing here since everyone thinks new laws are needed.

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