Net Neutrality Power Grab Triggers 1st Amendment Nightmare
Fox News Channel senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano says the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate the Internet constitute a major infringement upon freedom of speech, but he believes the new plan will get struck down in court for lack of transparency.
“People don’t know the danger that is coming,” Napolitano told WND. “The danger that is coming is a gaggle of bureaucrats here – three Democrats and two Republicans, the Republicans will probably dissent – claiming they have the power to regulate the Internet.”
He said Congress has passed no statute authorizing new government controls on the Internet, and the First Amendment clearly states that neither Congress nor any government agency it created can make a law restricting the freedom of speech.
“If the government regulates the Internet and tells providers how fast they can move information, we will soon see the government regulating the cost of the Internet. We will eventually, just like with broadcast television, see the government regulating the content of the Internet,” said Napolitano, who described the chain reaction he believes the FCC proposal would trigger.
“Right now, the Internet is the freest marketplace of ideas and transfers of information that the world has ever known,” he said. “At least in the United States, it is utterly and totally – there are some minor exceptions – unregulated.
One of the greatest frustrations for those concerned about the FCC plan eroding speech rights is that the commissioners will not, and say they cannot, reveal any details of the package until after the vote on Thursday. Napolitano said that tactic is actually a double-edged sword. He said the downside of the secrecy is obvious.
“It’s bad because the government has an obligation under federal law, when any of its administrative agencies plan on changing their rules and expanding their power or modifying substantially the manner in which they regulate, to publish those rules for 30 days,” Napolitano said.
“The good part is, the failure to publish this will invalidate the rules once they’re challenged before a federal court. The government is shooting itself in the foot,” said Napolitano, who sees this turning into a replay of another fierce court battle involving the administration.
Napolitano said the biggest asset for net neutrality supporters right now is the disinterest of the American people. He said if that changes, the whole debate will change.
He said fierce debate is exactly what the Democrat majority of commissioners is trying to avoid through its secretive
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