Leahy Joins In Filing "Friend Of Court" Brief To Support FCC's NET NEUTRALITY Rules

Leahy Joins 27 Lawmakers In Filing
Court Brief To Support FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules 

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, Sept. 21, 2015) — Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday joined 27 other members of Congress in filing a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Open Internet rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year. The rules are the subject of a legal challenge brought by the United States Telecom Association.

Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has long supported efforts to protect and promote an open Internet. In the run-up to the FCC’s adoption of its 2015 Open Internet rules, Leahy chaired two hearings on the importance of strong net neutrality protections, including a field hearing at the University of Vermont that drew witnesses from small businesses, the Vermont State Librarian, and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Leahy also wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, calling on him to hold net neutrality roundtables around the country to hear from consumers and businesses outside the Nation’s Capital.

Leahy has been a leading voice in the effort to prevent “paid-prioritization” deals that would allow large corporations to drown out the voices of smaller competitors online.  Leahy introduced bicameral legislation urging the FCC to prevent such deals, and in 2014 called on the Nation’s leading Internet Service Providers to pledge that they would not enter into these agreements.

In the amicus brief, Leahy and the other lawmakers support the FCC’s decision that high-speed Internet access is a telecommunications service that may be regulated by the FCC under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

“The FCC has done precisely what Congress intended the Commission to do – classify broadband Internet access service according to its best understanding of the technology of the day, and how consumers use that technology,” they said in their “friend of the court” legal brief.  “In light of the FCC’s findings – findings which are amply supported by evidence – this Court should uphold the FCC’s reasonable reclassification order.”

Other senators signing the amicus brief are: Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Angus S. King Jr. (I-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

House members signing the amicus brief are: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.).

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