States Drop Their Fight Against Internet Transition

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Four states that tried but failed to block the long-planned transition of internet oversight functions last month have dropped their case.

A Texas federal judge had rejected the states’ bid to stop the transition on Sept. 30, just hours before it was set to occur.   The transition of oversight from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to the non-profit that coordinates the internet’s domain name system took place at midnight Oct. 1, as planned.  

Back then, it appeared that at least the Texas Attorney’s General office wasn’t ready to give up the fight.  “We will continue to weigh our options as the suit moves forward,” Communications Director Marc Rylander had said in a Sept. 30 statement.  The four states, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Nevada, had alleged that the transition would violate the First Amendment and Property Clause of the Constitution.   

Spokeswomen for the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office declined to comment.

The chances that any opponent could undo the transition are unclear at best.  But the Oct. 14 dismissal of the case means that the states are no longer pursuing a determination of their claims.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a Sept. 13 report that the transition was “unlikely” an unconstitutional giveaway of government property, but its opinion wasn’t definitive.  

Regardless of the states’ rationale for voluntary dismissal, transition proponents can relax now that the lawsuit is now over.