Texas Court Gives Green Light to Internet Giveaway
A federal court on Friday declined to issue an injunction to prevent the Obama administration’s proposed transfer of a core component of the Internet, removing the last roadblock to a transition scheduled to take place at the end of the day.
Approval for the plan was effectively granted by Southern District of Texas Judge George C. Hanks, Jr., who denied the request for an injunction filed by Republican attorneys general in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Officials filed suit on Wednesday as part of a last-ditch effort to prevent the transfer from proceeding.
Hanks, appointed to the court by President Obama in 2015, rejected arguments made by plaintiffs that the administration exceeded its authority by going around Congress to conduct the transfer.
The decision removed the last obstacle potentially preventing the Department of Commerce from transferring title over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority to the international Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The move, which will become effective at the end of Friday, will mark the first time in history that the Web falls completely outside of American legal jurisdiction.
The event marks a final triumph on the issue for the Obama administration, which has for years sought to finalize the transition over objections from Republicans, most prominently Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Critics object to granting control to a body that includes countries like Iran, Russia and China.
“I have tremendous concern about other countries having the ability to weigh in on priorities, values and access to all content,” Blackburn told the Washington Examiner on Friday. “These are people who, many times, will not wish us well, and may not appreciate free speech as we do. I have misgivings, and I have deep, deep concern over what this transition will represent.”
“This, to me, is an incredibly bad day,” Blackburn said.