Since President Donald Trump took office, net neutrality – the principle that internet service providers should treat all content equally and keep it accessible to all – has been under constant attack.
Brett Kavanaugh is the president’s latest blow to a future with a free and open internet. And we know this because Kavanaugh, a DC Circuit Court of Appeals judge whom Trump has picked to replace a retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, has tackled the issue before.
In his dissent following a ruling that upheld net neutrality in the face of a legal attack by ISPs, Kavanaugh leveled a multi-faceted assault against an open internet.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of Kavanaugh’s dissent is that he sides with internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast, buying wholesale their argument that net neutrality tramples on their first amendment rights because it does not allow these companies to block content. He compared that perceived infringement on their rights to “[telling] the Washington Post or the Drudge Report what columns to carry.”
“…The Government must keep its hands off the editorial decisions of Internet service providers,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Absent a showing of market power, the Government may not tell Internet service providers how to exercise their editorial discretion about what content to carry or favor any more than the Government can tell Amazon or Politics & Prose what books to promote; or tell the Washington Post or the Drudge Report what columns to carry.”
As a Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh will have lasting effects on a multitude of extremely important issues, from labor to reproductive rights. When it comes to net neutrality, a Justice Kavanaugh may be the final nail in the coffin that dashes any future hopes of a truly free and protected open internet for generations to come.