WASHINGTON (Reuters)-The U.S. Justice Department late on Sunday filed suit after California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to restore open internet protections known as net neutrality in the state after the Trump administration repealed the rules in December 2017.
By Davis Shepardson
This marked the latest clash between the Trump administration and California, which have sparred over environmental, immigration and other hot-button issues.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Sunday in a statement that “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.”
California’s net neutrality law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, but the Justice Department late Sunday in a court filing sought a preliminary injunction to block it from taking effect, warning that internet companies “cannot realistically comply with one set of standards in this area for California and another for the rest of the nation — especially when internet communications frequently cross multiple jurisdictions.”
The government said that California sought to “second-guess” the federal government and warned “the effect of this state legislation would be to nullify federal law across the country.”
In December, the Federal Communications Commission said in repealing the Obama-era rules that it was preempting states from setting their own rules governing internet access.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Sunday the Trump Administration was ignoring “millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules” while California, which is “home to countless start-ups, tech giants and nearly 40 million consumers – will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load.”
The Trump administration rules were a win for providers like Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), AT&T Inc (T.N) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), but the net neutrality repeal was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O)…