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CEI Leads Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Support of Internet Freedom

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed an amicus brief today in support of the cert petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Berninger v. FCC. In the brief, filed jointly with the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and the Individual Rights Foundation, CEI argues that the Court should confirm that Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to regulate the Internet.

Berninger, also known as U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC at the lower court, challenges the FCC’s violation of the Telecommunications Act. The 1996 law was an effort to curtail government regulation of emerging communications platforms such as the Internet. Yet the FCC has claimed that a provision of this law actually authorizes the agency to regulate the Internet - and on two recent occasions, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit erroneously affirmed this claim, deferring to the FCC's interpretation of the 1996 law.

CEI Research Fellow and Regulatory Counsel Ryan Radia said, “It is crucial to the free flow of innovation and ideas that the Supreme Court reverse the recent DC Circuit ruling and confirm that the Telecommunications Act doesn't give the FCC broad power to regulate the Internet. We strongly urge the Court to take up Berninger to affirm Congress’s decision to preserve the Internet as a free and competitive platform for commerce and communications.”

CEI has supported the Berninger case since August 2015 when it filed an amicus brief with the DC Circuit in U.S. Telecom v FCC. See more from CEI on the regulation of the internet here.

See today’s brief here.