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US appeals court in San Francisco will hear net neutrality appeal

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A federal judicial panel said on Thursday that challenges to the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Obama era open internet rules will be heard by an appeals court based in San Francisco.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation said it randomly selected the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court Nth circuit to hear the consolidated challenges. The FCC declined to comment on the decision.

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A dozen challenges have been filed by 22 state attorneys general, public interest groups, internet companies, a California county and the state’s Public Utilities Commission seeking to block the Trump administration’s repeal of landmark rules designed to ensure a free and open internet from taking effect.

The suits were filed in both the Ninth Circuit and District of Columbia appeals court. Of the Ninth Circuit court’s 24 active judges, 18 were appointed by Democratic presidents and six by Republican President George W. Bush. There are six current vacancies and President Donald Trump has nominated two candidates.

The FCC published its order overturning the net neutrality rules in the Federal Register on Feb. 22, a procedural step that allowed for the filing of legal challenges.

The Republican-led FCC in December voted 3-2 to overturn 2015 rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content on the internet.

Trump in January criticized opponents for filing cases in the Ninth Circuit and asserted in a tweet they “almost always” win before being reversed.

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New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are among the states challenging the decision, arguing the FCC cannot make “arbitrary and capricious” changes to existing policies and that it misinterpreted and disregarded “critical record evidence on industry practices and harm to consumers and businesses.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said he is confident the order will be upheld.

The White House Office of Management and Budget still must sign off on some aspects of the FCC reversal before it takes legal effect. That could take months.

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The repeal of the net neutrality rules was a victory for internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc, conferring power over what content consumers can access.

On the other side, technology companies including Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc have thrown their weight behind a congressional bid to reverse the net neutrality repeal.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


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Trump’s much-hyped Walmart and CVS coronavirus testing centers have been a massive flop

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During a press conference last month, President Donald Trump brought several corporate bigwigs with him to announce that major retailers Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Target would all be making their parking lots available to set up drive-through COVID-19 testing centers.

"The goal is for individuals to be able to drive up and be swabbed without having to leave your car," the president said.

It's been nearly three weeks since that announcement, however, and CNN reports that companies have only set up five of these testing centers in the United States so far -- and that none of them are available to the general public.

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Trump admin dropped the ball on Pentagon’s offer to deliver thousand of ventilators: report

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According to a CNN report this Tuesday, the Defense Department offered two weeks ago to make thousands of ventilators available, but the Trump administration failed to take them up on the offer.

After offering to send 2,000 ventilators to FEMA and HHS, the Pentagon never got the go-ahead to ship them off or any sort of directions on where to send them to.

CNN reports that the Defense Department also made its testing labs available, but still hasn't heard back from the White House.

Read the full report over at CNN.

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‘Let’s not be silly!’ Kellyanne Conway barks at reporter for undermining her ‘bunker’ attack on Biden

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White House aide Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday defended her assertion that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden owed President Donald Trump a call to the White House instead of criticizing the government's pandemic response from his "bunker."

During a gaggle outside the White House, Conway was asked why she had slammed Biden during an appearance on Fox & Friends earlier that morning.

"I find it to be petty and a tinge of partisanship and completely unhelpful to the American population to have a former vice president who was here for eight years in his bunker in Wilmington just lobbing criticisms," Conway said of her attack on Biden.

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