Originally published: March 27, 2012
Last updated: April 5, 2012 - 4:13am
[Commentary] On March 1, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order resolving a couple of things concerning the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality rules.
First, the motions panel denied the motion to hold in abeyance and referred the cases to a merits panel for briefing and oral argument. The motions panel declined to resolve the question about whether this constituted a rulemaking or license modification, so they deferred that question to the merits panel. On March 23, the merits panel got the ball rolling, sort of. As an initial step, the merits panel issued an order requiring all the parties (Petitioners, intervenors for both sides, FCC) to submit a proposed briefing plan (i.e., who gets to file what when). Responses to that order are due within 30 days of the order (i.e., April 23, as April 22 is a Sunday). This is typical for a case like this, but it does mean that an actual briefing schedule is unlikely until early May. Since none of the Petitioners requested an expedited proceeding, we should expect things to proceed at a normal pace for a case of this size and complexity. I would expect that Petitioners briefs will come due in the summer or early fall and we should wrap up briefing entirely by November. That means oral argument isn't likely until early 2013, with a decision probably 2 or 3 months after oral argument.
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