Free Press Withdraws Preliminary Petition in Legal Challenge to the FCC's Net Neutrality Repeal

Organization plans to sue the FCC after the agency publishes its order in the Federal Register
Contact Info: 

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Free Press voluntarily withdrew its “petition for review,” filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in January to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Net Neutrality protections.

Free Press had filed the petition on a protective basis as a preliminary step in suing to overturn the FCC’s unpopular Dec. 14 order. Free Press is one of  a number of parties challenging FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision, several of which filed their own similar suits last month.

The filings were protective in nature, submitted before the typical time period for such lawsuits that commences with publication of the agency decision in the Federal Register. That publication for the December repeal has yet to occur.

In the 2015 litigation over the FCC’s prior Net Neutrality rules, however, the agency started the litigation process on the basis of similarly early appeals. It submitted the case to the appellate courts early and started the process to decide which circuit court would hear the challenge.

The Pai FCC rightly held off on starting the litigation process early, as Free Press and other open-internet supporters advised it to do. Therefore, Free Press has withdrawn its initial protective petition to clear the way for a challenge after the rules appear in the Federal Register.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

“The FCC’s decision to repeal the open-internet rules was a disaster, and we will make that case in court in the very near future.

“The only thing the Pai FCC has gotten right is its decision to refrain from kicking off the appeals process early.

“Today’s voluntary dismissal of our preliminary and protective challenge was just an expected procedural step, and does nothing to change our resolve to overturn the FCC’s flawed decision in the court case still to come.”