Net Activists Hammer Judge Kavanaugh

Net neutrality activists have gotten together to fight the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, saying he would put the wishes of big cable and big telecom over the interests of the public.

Free Press, Public Knowledge, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress and 20 others have sent a letter to the Senate in opposition. His Senate nomination hearings--in the Judiciary Committee--are scheduled to begin Sept. 4, although Democrats are trying to delay them, (opens in new tab) partly in hopes of regaining the Senate and blocking the nomination themselves.

Kavanaugh, a judicial conservative who has participated in numerous cases involving communications issues, was tapped by the president July 9 to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kavanaugh is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is the court of primary jurisdiction for FCC decisions. 

Related: Communications Workers Oppose Kavanaugh

Back in October, he dissented from a decision by the full court not to grant ISPs request that it reconsider its decision upholding the Title II reclassfication, a reclassification Kavanaugh said was unlawful and should have been vacated. 

Free Press et al. said that dissent revealed "his commitment to protect the alleged rights of the big cable and phone companies that provide broadband internet access rather than the communications rights of everyone in America who relies on an open internet."

Related: Court Fight Likely to Fill Media Coffers

They also didn't like that Kavanaugh, in his dissent said that "the Internet’s technological architecture may mean that Internet service providers can provide unlimited content; it does not mean that they must.”

They also said that putting Kavanaugh on the High Court would "improperly make the First Amendment a shield for many harmful business practices, suggesting that the 'speech' interests of a company in favoring some internet services over others outweigh consumer choice and the free expression interests of all other internet users and services."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.