The White Home has tapped a longtime gadfly of Google and different massive tech firms to steer the Division of Justice’s antitrust division.
President Biden on Tuesday nominated Jonathan Kanter — a pugnacious antitrust legal professional who has fought authorized battles in opposition to Google and who has mentioned US competitors enforcers have “misplaced our manner” — to move the important thing company.
Kanter have to be confirmed by the Senate, the place information of his nomination was instantly met with reward from Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
Warren known as the transfer “great information for staff and shoppers,” including that Kanter has “been a frontrunner within the battle to verify consolidated company energy and strengthen competitors in our markets.”
Meahwhile, the chief director of the progressive Open Markets Institute, Barry Lynn, mentioned Kanter “is aware of how one can break the fist of personal energy and construct a rule of regulation for the digital age.”
If confirmed, Kanter will take over the Justice Division’s ongoing swimsuit in opposition to Google over the corporate’s “illegal monopolies” in search and promoting — the division’s first substantial problem to a giant tech firm since its 1998 antitrust swimsuit in opposition to Microsoft.
The 47-year-old Kanter has an extended historical past with Google. After beginning his profession on the Federal Commerce Fee, he moved into non-public follow, the place he represented Google rivals and critics together with Microsoft, Yelp and New York Submit guardian firm Information Corp.
Along with his authorized work, the combative legal professional has advocated publicly for extra assertive antitrust enforcement in opposition to tech giants.
“Monopoly circumstances are the equal of jaywalking,” Kanter mentioned in a 2018 speech. “The final massive Part 2 case introduced by america authorities … is the Microsoft case 20 years in the past. So what has gone incorrect? How have we misplaced our manner?”
And in 2016, Kanter slammed the Obama administration antitrust enforcement as being “barely on life help.”
Kanter’s nomination comes on the heels of fellow massive tech foe Lina Khan’s affirmation in June as head of the Federal Commerce Fee.
Khan has already clashed with Amazon and Fb throughout her quick tenure as FTC chief. Each tech giants have demanded she recuse herself from antitrust investigations involving them resulting from previous important writing concerning the firms, although Khan has but to reply.
Given Kanter’s work for Google’s rivals, he might face related stress to recuse himself from the Justice Division’s swimsuit in opposition to Google, in keeping with Mark McCareins, a enterprise regulation professor at Northwestern College’s Kellogg Faculty of Administration.
McCareins added that the methodical nature of the Justice Division’s work signifies that anybody anticipating “quick fireworks in opposition to massive tech will in all probability be disillusioned.”
Kanter may also be busy overseeing antitrust circumstances not associated to tech, together with a long-running investigation into poultry price-fixing, McCareins mentioned.
“Chickens are usually not massive tech however he has inherited that investigation — it’s large, it will be important, and if anyone thinks his day will likely be occupied 100% about attempting to take care of massive tech, they’re incorrect,” the professor mentioned.