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The bill in California has been heralded by net neutrality advocates as one of the toughest legislative fixes in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rescinding the federal-level protections last year.
While there was much rejoicing after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed California’s bill into law on Sunday night, the emotions online quickly turned to anger after the Justice Department announced its intention to sue the state over the law, claiming that it “unlawfully imposes burdens on the federal government’s deregulatory approach to the internet.”
The reaction among people online over the news was quick, with many people pointing out that “state’s rights” are typically a hallmark position for Republicans.
"Federal gov't files suit against California Net Neutrality law" -- confirming again that the right's pious talk about state rights doesn't go one step beyond their interest in limiting the rights of women and minorities— Tim Wu (@superwuster) October 1, 2018
Republicans:🇱🇷🇱🇷STATES RIGHTS🇱🇷🇱🇷— Bo-Henry Peekem (@HenryWilc0x) October 1, 2018
Also Republicans: if you don't obey the federal government we will sue you https://t.co/5JFRrqjOGw
So what were you saying about state's rights? Oh, I see, only when it suits your narrative. https://t.co/C75tmBHCqq— jlee (@bunnydear) October 1, 2018
So to be clear, the GOP position is that states are to be trusted with regulating abortion but not cell phone plans https://t.co/ggNlxNjQ6G— nilay patel (@reckless) October 1, 2018
The Justice Dept. is planning to sue California for doing what the nation as a whole should’ve done LONG ago... Why? https://t.co/qmIjyNkHuU— Jorge García (@JorgeMGarcia_) October 1, 2018
I suggest ever state follow California's lead.#NetNeutrality— Jason Fink (@FinkoPhotos) October 1, 2018
"The California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy. The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources..."- Jeff Sessions
Didn't expect the month of Halloween to start with something as scary as the federal government suing California over something they refuse to regulate. #netneutrality— mortalglitch (@mortalglitch) October 1, 2018
*Fixed typo in original
State's rights unless it's the libs. https://t.co/qP3RjAUsXA— turandorf (@turandorf) October 1, 2018
Other people directed their outrage at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai–who is a frequent target of people’s ire online–and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, both of whom blasted the law in statements in the Justice Department’s lawsuit announcement.
I hope Ajit Pai gets the eternal wedgie in hell. https://t.co/y429axeYng— Scott (@firescotch) October 1, 2018
Verizon didn't do all that work to make Ajit Pai chairman for the states to stop him from ruining the internet! https://t.co/uqb5GyOjre— Thorne Melcher (@ExistentialEnso) October 1, 2018
.@JerryBrownGov Thank you for signing the Net Neutrality bill, which protects our interests, strengthens CA's economy, shows true leadership, and flips off @AjitPaiFCC, @jeffsessions, and @GOP, who only want to enrich corps at the cost of impoverishing Americans. #NetNeutrality— Occasional Optomist (@Batyalee) October 1, 2018
Jeff Sessions will recuse himself from the Net Neutrality matter because he lost his 10 Free Hours of AOL floppy disk.— Chad Simmons (@trojanchad) October 1, 2018
Considering that people online routinely rally around net neutrality causes in large numbers, it’s not shocking that their reaction to the Justice Department’s decision was so quick and so fierce.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).