Fight for Net Neutrality

Judge rules for California in net neutrality challenge, will allow state to enforce net neutrality law

Yesterday evening, February 23, California District Judge Mendez ruled in American Cable Association v. Becerra that he would not prevent the state from enforcing its net neutrality law (SB 822) in large part because plaintiff internet service providers (ISPs) are unlikely to succeed in their challenge. The ruling was on the ISPs’ motion for preliminary injunction to prevent the state from enforcing SB 822 during the pendency of the full litigation. The judge’s decision, however, is not final — ISPs can still appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit, further delaying enforcement.

Access Now supports the California law, and authored an amicus brief in the case, along with Mozilla, Public Knowledge, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and Free Press.

“The judge’s decision is an early victory for Californians and for net neutrality,” said Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now. “Ajit Pai abandoned the people when his FCC abdicated its authority over broadband providers three years ago. California rightly stepped up and passed a net neutrality law that same year, and today the court rebuffed an initial attempt to take down the law. This decision is good news for the future of net neutrality in California and other states hoping to pass similar laws.”

Judge Mendez’ decision is the second blow this month to the court case, as President Biden’s Department of Justice recently withdrew its lawsuit against SB 822 initially brought by the prior administration.