U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Constitutionality of the FCC’s Universal Service Framework

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The United States Supreme Court has declined to review the constitutionality of the FCC’s universal service support mechanism. The nonprofit group, Consumers’ Research (Petitioner), filed a Petition for Certiorari asserting that the FCC’s universal service framework is unconstitutional as it unlawfully delegates Congressional taxing authority to the FCC, and the FCC unlawfully delegates to the Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) the calculation and collection activities of universal service support. The Petitioner has already challenged the universal service structure in four separate circuit courts of appeal including the Fifth, Sixth, Eleventh and D.C. Circuits. The Sixth and Eleventh Circuit both rejected Petitioner’s arguments and a Fifth Circuit panel ruled against Petitioner; however, the full Fifth Circuit voted to rehear the case and has not yet issued an opinion nor has a panel of the D.C. Circuit. The Petitioner asked the Supreme Court to review the case because of a potential circuit court split. The FCC opposed the Writ arguing that it is premature for the Supreme Court to weigh in as there is not yet a conflict between Circuit courts. The Supreme Court declined to review the case by listing and did not release a decision.

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