Biden picks Big Tech gadfly Jonathan Kanter as DOJ antitrust chief

The White Home has tapped a longtime gadfly of Google and different huge tech firms to guide the Division of Justice’s antitrust division.

President Biden on Tuesday nominated Jonathan Kanter — a pugnacious antitrust legal professional who has fought authorized battles towards Google and who has stated US competitors enforcers have “misplaced our manner” — to move the important thing company. 

Kanter should 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.). Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, has additionally referred to as Kanter’s report “encouraging,” in keeping with the New York Occasions.

Warren this week referred to as the transfer “great information for staff and customers,” including that Kanter has “been a pacesetter within the struggle to test consolidated company energy and strengthen competitors in our markets.” 

If confirmed, Kanter will take over the Justice Division’s ongoing swimsuit towards 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 towards 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 observe, the place he represented Google rivals and critics together with Microsoft, Yelp and New York Publish mother or father firm Information Corp. 

The Department of Justice headquarters
If confirmed, Kanter will take over the DOJ’s swimsuit towards Google over “illegal monopolies” in search and promoting.
Getty Photographs

Along with his authorized work, the combative legal professional has advocated publicly for extra assertive antitrust enforcement towards tech giants. In 2016, Kanter slammed the Obama administration antitrust enforcement as being “barely on life help.”  

“Monopoly circumstances are the equal of jaywalking,” Kanter stated two years later in a 2018 speech. “The final huge Part 2 case introduced by america authorities … is the Microsoft case 20 years in the past. So what has gone fallacious? How have we misplaced our manner?”

Kanter’s nomination comes on the heels of fellow huge 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 brief tenure as FTC chief. Each tech giants have demanded she recuse herself from antitrust investigations involving them because of previous important writing in regards to the firms, although Khan has but to reply.

Given Kanter’s work for Google’s rivals, he could face related strain to recuse himself from the Justice Division’s swimsuit towards Google, in keeping with Mark McCareins, a enterprise legislation professor at Northwestern College’s Kellogg College of Administration. 

McCareins added that the methodical nature of the Justice Division’s work implies that anybody anticipating “quick fireworks towards huge tech will most likely be upset.”

Kanter can even be busy overseeing antitrust circumstances not associated to tech, together with a long-running investigation into poultry price-fixing, McCareins stated. 

“Chickens should not huge tech however he has inherited that investigation — it’s huge, it will be important, and if anyone thinks his day will probably be occupied 100% about making an attempt to take care of Massive Tech, they’re fallacious,” the professor stated. 

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