President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee argued last year that net neutrality rules violate the First Amendment rights of Internet service providers by preventing them from “exercising editorial control” over Internet content.
Trump’s pick is Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The DC Circuit twice upheld the net neutrality rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission under former Chairman Tom Wheeler, despite Kavanaugh’s dissent. (In another tech-related case, Kavanaugh ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone metadata is legal.)
While current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai eliminated the net neutrality rules, Kavanaugh could help restrict the FCC’s authority to regulate Internet providers as a member of the Supreme Court. Broadband industry lobby groups have continued to seek Supreme Court review of the legality of Wheeler’s net neutrality rules even after Pai’s repeal.