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Four states sue to stop internet transition

Four states sue to stop internet transition
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Republican attorneys general in four states are filing a lawsuit to block the transfer of internet domain systems oversight from the U.S. to an international governing body.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Nevada Attorney General Paul Laxalt filed a lawsuit on Wednesday night to stop the White House's proposed transition of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions.

The state officials cite constitutional concerns in their suit against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. government and the Department of Commerce.

“The Obama Administration’s decision violates the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution by giving away government property without congressional authorization, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by chilling speech, and the Administrative Procedure Act by acting beyond statutory authority,” a statement released by Paxton’s office reads.

The attorneys generals claim that the U.S. government is ceding government property, pointing to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review that “concluded that the transition does not involve a transfer of U.S. government property requiring Congressional approval.”

Paxton also echoed Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP clears key hurdle on Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, setting up Monday confirmation Texas and North Carolina: Democrats on the verge? Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE's warnings that the transition could harm free speech on the internet by giving Russia, China and Iran a voice on the international governing body that would oversee internet domain systems.

“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,” 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.”

Cruz had previously made an aggressive push in the Senate to block the transition by adding a policy rider against it in the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government.

Top Republican Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden's pledge to not raise middle class taxes GOP to Trump: Focus on policy MORE (Iowa) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate to hold all-night session ahead of Barrett confirmation vote Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight MORE (S.D.) also voiced significant support for delaying the transition beyond its planned Oct. 1 date, but it was ultimately left off the CR, which passed in the Senate on Wednesday.

The complaint also cites security concerns about the U.S. relinquishing control of .mil and .gov domains.

Supporters of the transition, however, say that these domains will not be affected and will still controlled by the U.S. government.