Case Detail

Tennessee v. FCC; North Carolina v. FCC
On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order commanding North Carolina and Tennessee to permit expanded municipal broadband Internet services—despite those state governments’ refusal to allow it. The decision marked a victory for WLF, which (on behalf of its client, former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth) filed a brief urging the court to overturn the order. FCC asserted that its order would increase broadband competition. WLF argued, and the court agreed, that FCC may not preempt state laws that set forth how various organs of government are to operate, in the absence of a “clear statement” from Congress authorizing preemption. The court left unaddressed a broader constitutional argument raised in the brief—that well-established state-sovereignty principles absolutely prohibit the federal government from interfering with the relationship between a State and its political subdivisions.
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More Information and Downloads:
9/25/2015: Download the Brief

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