US President Joe Biden nominated lawyer and Google critic Jonathan Kanter as the Justice Branch’s antitrust chief on Tuesday in the newest signal the White House is made up our minds to rein on this planet’s biggest corporations, particularly Big Tech.
Progressives who advocate tougher enforcement of antitrust law pushed for the nomination of Kanter, who recently started his own law firm, Kanter Law Group LLP, which bills itself as an “antitrust advocacy boutique.”
The White House called Kanter “a leading advocate and expert in the effort to elevate strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy.”
He has spent years representing rivals of Alphabet’s Google, which the Justice Branch sued final year, alleging that it broke antitrust law in seeking to hobble rivals.
The Biden administration prior to now chose two antitrust progressives with tech expertise, Tim Wu for the National Economic Council and Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Commerce Commission.
Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said Kanter “has crafted most of the most successful valid arguments driving the major antitrust investigations into Big Tech.”
Kanter declined remark on the nomination.
Whether confirmed by the Senate, Kanter, who prior to now worked for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP and two other big law firms, will take the reins of the Justice Branch’s Antitrust Division amid calls for tougher enforcement overall, with special criticism aimed at Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.
The tech giants have been under investigation for approximately two years, with a US House of Representatives panel issuing a outline in October that said they used “killer acquisitions” to fend off rivals, charged exorbitant fees and forced small businesses into “oppressive” contracts in the name of profit.
The companies have vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
The Justice Branch Antitrust Division under Kanter will play a key role in executing the Biden executive order aimed at promoting competition across the USA economy. Along with suing Google, the Justice Branch could also be investigating Apple.
The Federal Commerce Commission shares the job of antitrust enforcement with the Justice Branch.
© Thomson Reuters 2021