Joe Biden will nominate Jonathan Kanter, who has represented some of Google’s fiercest rivals, as one of his administration’s top competition law enforcers, presenting another potential challenge for larger companies. Silicon Valley.
If confirmed as head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, Kanter will take responsibility for the government’s antitrust case against Google.
Kanter has already represented several companies that have complained about Google’s anti-competitive practices, including Microsoft and News Corp. Google declined to comment.
The appointment is a further sign of Biden’s intention to reshape the way competition law is applied in the United States. It follows the appointment of two prominent Big Tech critics, Lina Khan and Tim Wu, as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and a White House adviser, respectively.
“Jonathan Kanter is a distinguished antitrust lawyer with more than 20 years of experience,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday announcing its planned appointment. “Throughout his career, Kanter has also been a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote a strong and meaningful antitrust competition policy.”
Kanter, the founding partner of antitrust boutique The Kanter Law Group, did not respond to a request for comment.
His appointment would put another high-tech tech critic in charge of enforcing federal antitrust laws, alongside Khan, whose punctual criticism of Amazon and Facebook has led those companies to demand his refusal from matters concerning them.
Kanter had been seen as the more progressive of the two candidates on the president’s current list for DoJ work. Jonathan Sallet, on the other hand, may have faced fewer potential conflicts of interest than Kanter, given Kanter’s previous client list. However, it was not defended by those on the left of the party who called for a rethinking of antitrust policy.
The nomination is another sign of the growing power of a handful of academics, lawyers and progressive activists, who argue that U.S. competition law has not been respected for decades.
One of those academics is Wu, who was the architect of this month’s presidential order on the competition, which aimed to address power concentrations in the U.S. economy.
Prior to Kanter’s appointment, progressives had tweeted a picture of a cup on which was written Wu & Khan & Kanter.
Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, said in a statement that Kanter “will invigorate antitrust enforcement – both civil and criminal – and strengthen the DoJ’s scrutiny of anti-competitive abuses that threaten our economy, our society and our democracy. “
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