updated 10:00 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
FCC picks Pai and Rosenworcel for FCC spots
The Obama administration late Monday nominated replacements for outgoing FCC commissioners Meredith Atwell Baker and Michael Copps that will keep the 3-2 split in favor of Democrats. Baker will be replaced by Ajit Varadaraj Pai, a Republican partner at law firm Jenner & Block as well as a veteran of the FCC general counsel. Copps will be replaced by Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, is currently Senator Rockefeller's telecom counsel and one of Copps' former aides.
The two have to be approved by the Senate, although the choice is likely to clear as it comes as close to a balance as the current five-commissioner structure would allow. It's unclear how Pai and Rosenworcel will vote when issues aren't party-oriented.
Losing Copps may be a blow for the Democrats and for those who share his attitude towards technology. He has regularly been pro-net neutrality and objects to the AT&T buyout of T-Mobile. The official is leaving only because his term expires at the end of 2011.
Positions are less likely to change with Baker's loss, as both her and fellow Republican Robert McDowell have largely clung to party lines and sided with corporate views. While her exit was likely legal, Baker drew controversy when she left to work for Comcast just a few months after she supported its merger with NBCUniversal, raising concerns of possible corruption. [image via Harvard University]