Internet giveaway proceeds after court rejects suit to halt it

We have written about President Obama’s internet giveaway and how GOP congressional leaders effectively rubber stamped it. An aide to Majority Leader McConnell even tried to blame Donald Trump for the Republicans’ gutlessness.

After Congress failed to act, four Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit to stop the giveaway. The four state plaintiffs were Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada and Texas. Their AGs are Mark Brnovich, Scott Pruitt, Adam Paul Laxalt, and Ken Paxton.

The suit made several arguments against the internet giveaway. Plaintiffs argued that, because it lacks congressional approval (Congress didn’t approve the action, it merely declined to block it) the giveaway amounts to an illegal ceding of U.S. government property. They also contended that the new steward of the internet domain system, an outfit known ICANN, will be so unchecked that it could “effectively enable or prohibit speech on the Internet.”

The AGs also noted that ICANN could revoke the U.S. government’s exclusive use of .gov and .mil, the domains used by states, federal agencies and the U.S. military for their websites. In a statement, Texas Attorney General Paxton said: “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”

The AGs’ suit did a good job of expressing key objections to Obama’s internet giveaway. Yesterday, however, a federal district court judge, George C. Hanks, Jr., rejected the legal challenge. The Obama-appointed judge found that there wasn’t enough evidence that the transfer would be harmful.

Thus, today oversight of the domain naming system has been transferred to “global stakeholders.”

The Obama Commerce Department had stressed that any last-minute attempt to abandon the giveaway would “hurt the credibility of America in the eyes of the rest of the world.” This is true. Blocking the giveaway would have upset what has become the world’s reasonable expectation that the U.S., under President Obama, is a pushover willing to cede control over key affairs to international bodies and even our enemies, and unwilling vigilantly to safeguard national interests.

Because congressional leaders are also pushovers, world expectations have been met and remain intact.