State attorneys general said Thursday they would sue the Federal Communications Commission just hours after it voted to kill the Obama-era net neutrality rules.
Many organizations in support of net neutrality said they would explore legal options once the FCC approved a rollback of the rules, and already, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have announced their intent to challenge the decision in court.
“We are 5-0 against the Trump administration because they often fail to follow the law when taking executive action,” Ferguson said in a statement. “There is a strong legal argument that with this action, the federal government violated the Administrative Procedures Act — again.”
Under the Administrative Procedures Act, which allows for public participation in the rulemaking process, federal agencies such as the FCC are required to accept public comments.
Ferguson said he would be filing a petition for review in the next few days.
"Allowing Internet service providers to discriminate based on content undermines a free and open Internet,” he said. “Today’s action will seriously harm consumers, innovation and small businesses.”
Schneiderman said he will also challenge the FCC’s repeal of the Internet rules in court.
“New Yorkers deserve the right to a free and open Internet,” he said in a statement. “That’s why we will sue to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality.”
Schneiderman specifically took issue with the public comments submitted to the FCC in the months before Thursday’s vote.
Many of the 21.7 million comments filed were fraudulent and fake, and Schneiderman, through an investigation mounted by his office, determined 2 million comments used the stolen identities of real Americans.
“This is a crime under New York law — and the FCC’s decision to go ahead with the vote makes a mockery of government integrity and rewards the very perpetrators who scammed the system to advance their own agenda.”
Schneiderman called the undoing of the net neutrality rules an “attack on all New Yorkers, and on the integrity of every American’s voice in government.”
“We will fight back,” he said.
The FCC voted Thursday afternoon to repeal the net neutrality rules, which are designed to ensure all web content is treated equally.
The three Republicans on the FCC, including Chairman Ajit Pai, supported the roll back, while the two Democratic commissioners dissented.