The SG's decision not to seek an appeal of the DC Circuit's USTA II decision reduced the possibility of Supreme Court cert. But Commissioner Martin's reversal later in the day (which is nice, Randy) was the death blow. So be it. Aspects of the TRO were suspect from the moment they were compromised....uhh...voted upon.
AT&T has predictably launched a missive against the Bush Administration for the SG's decision. But, as Judge Starr eloquently laid out last week, this was a decision grounded in the law, (most likely) resting primarily on the delegation issue and (most likely) made with no influence by the White House, despite all of the rent-seeking behavior by the parties.
The losers? AT&T and MCI to a lesser extent, obviously. Commissioner Martin. NARUC. But companies such as Covad also lost out through the process because they were not large enough to press their arguments for appeal (i.e., on line sharing) due to procedural constraints before the DC Circuit.
So, back to the drawing board at the FCC. Which is unfortunate, with arguably more pressing issues such as the VoIP, broadcast spectrum and intercarrier compensation dockets also demanding time and resources from the Commission. And who knows how much longer Chairman Powell will be able to endure this. What will happen first? Legally bulletproof local competition rules or a brand new Telecom Act?
Finally, it will be interesting to see whether MCI can reach agreements with other incumbents now that the TRO is interred. MCI has strong incentives to get some certainty, if price can be agreed upon. The MCI-Qwest agreement was a good start. Now, there might be an opening for further regional agreements with the remaining BOCs.