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E-rate Fund Survives Another Legal Challenge

On May 4, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an opinion on a case challenging the constitutionality of the Universal Service Fund system. Using similar arguments as seen in the case brought before the Fifth Circuit, the Sixth Circuit denied the petition for review. In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit determined that nondelegation doctrine was not violated because “Congress provided the FCC with a detailed statutory framework regarding universal service” which “offers nuanced guidance and delimited discretion to the FCC.” The Court also determined that “because of USAC’s subordination to the FCC and its assistance with fact gathering and ministerial support, there is no private-nondelegation doctrine violation.”

A similar case is pending before the Eleventh Circuit. The Sixth Circuit’s opinion may be viewed here.

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