President Trump’s nominee, Nathan Simington, was confirmed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by a 49-46 vote of the U.S. Senate, Tuesday.
Simington will serve alongside Republican commissioners Brendan Carr, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks.
President Donald Trump nominated Simington to the position of FCC commissioner after former Republican commissioner Michael O’Rielly's nomination to serve another term had been pulled for opposing the President's executive order on social media censorship.
President Trump's executive order had the Commerce Department petition the FCC to consider legal changes that would limit the liability protections of social media companies who censor their users. FCC chairman Pai had previously backed then President's executive order, but recently announced he would be stepping down from his position at the end of January, Breitbart reports.
Simington served as a Commerce Department official since November and helped write the petition to the FCC, saying, "I helped with the blocking and tackling."
As an advocate of the President's crusade against big tech censorship, Simington's FCC confirmation could mean further victories against politically driven social media moderation and other forms of silencing free speech.
In September, some lobbyists expressed concern over Simington's nomination to the FCC, citing his unusual path to the nomination.
"There’s this informal rule that the nominees come from someone on the Hill — or at least it’s someone that somebody on the Hill wants to see there. That certainly appears not to be the case here," Scott Wallsten, president of the Technology Policy Institute, said.
John B. Morris Jr., a fellow at the Brookings Institution, called Simington's nomination "unusual."