POLITICO: Biden’s last big antitrust pick faces Senate Judiciary

October 6, 2021


Completing the trifecta: Jonathan Kanter, President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the DOJ antitrust division, faces his confirmation hearing. MT will be watching for questions on recusals.

WHAT TO WATCH AT KANTER’S HEARING — Don’t expect Kanter’s confirmation hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee to get too contentious. He’ll face questioning alongside a slate of judicial nominees, who are expected to get the bulk of the attention.

Kanter will likely focus on his years of experience pushing for more “vigorous” antitrust enforcement, particularly against the major tech companies, as he wrote in his questionnaire. Kanter has represented Microsoft, and has emphasized that he believes antitrust action against Microsoft in the 1990s changed the company’s behavior for the better.

— Who’s backing him: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) will introduce Kanter, saying his nomination comes “at a critical moment in antitrust,” when federal enforcers must take a tougher stand. “That requires leadership at the Antitrust Division with the experience, the legal skill, and the courage to take on some of the most powerful companies the world has ever seen,” she will say, per prepared remarks. “Jonathan possesses these qualities in spades.”

Progressive antitrust advocates hope Kanter will complete the “trifecta” of Tim Wu at the White House, Lina Khan at the FTC and now Kanter at the DOJ antitrust division. The Strategic Organizing Center, which represents major labor unions, supports his nomination, as does Mike Davis of the Internet Accountability Project, a conservative group.

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