President Trump this morning randomly addressed a recent court ruling on net neutrality, calling it a great win that will lead to many big things including 5G. Perhaps he didnt read the ruling closely, because it in fact is an enormous blow to the FCC and the unhinged logic on which it based the rollback of net neutrality.

You can find a full analysis of the decision here, but Trumps tweet ought to be addressed directly, because it is wrong in several ways.

First and most important, the FCC didnt win this. Certainly it was a partial victory in that it wasnt struck down and many of Mozilla et als objections were dismissed (sometimes almost flippantly). But not only were several issues, such as the legal abandonment of the Lifeline program, sent back to the FCC to be addressed, the entire Restoring Internet Freedom rule had its teeth pulled by the removal of the agencys ability to preempt state laws.

The FCC had relied on specious arguments throughout, but one of the least convincing was that it had the authority to overrule states that had established their own, stronger net neutrality rules, as California is doing. This attempt to create preemption authority out of thin air was completely unjustified by any law or precedent, the court ruled, and that entire section of the new rules was struck down.

That means states can set their own rules and the FCC cant interfere and if a few states set strong rules, companies will likely choose to simply comply with those nationally rather than create a collection of state-specific ones. This is a huge setback for the FCC, essentially removing its authority to enforce its own rules. So are they really even rules?

Commission Impossible: How and why the FCC created net neutrality