This past Tuesday, the Senate put forth their approval of Jonathan Kanter as a major antitrust official inside of the Department of Justice.
In a vote that resulted in a 68-29 split, Kanter was finally given permission to serve as the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division for the United States, which has the power of exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal antitrust cases.
As explained by The New York Times, Kanter has had a known history of opposing multiple Big Tech firms:
Mr. Kanter has fought Google and other tech giants for years — mostly as a lawyer representing rivals such as Microsoft, Uber, Yelp and News Corp. He joins other prominent critics of Silicon Valley in government roles, including Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, who gained notoriety after writing a paper in law school arguing an antitrust theory against Amazon. Together, the two antitrust enforcers will lead landmark cases against Google and Facebook.
Despite this, CNBC went on to add that the past work from Kanter could complicate his role with the federal government:
As the DOJ’s new antitrust chief, Kanter will inherit a lawsuit against Google filed during the Trump administration. But it’s unclear if Kanter will recuse himself from the case, given his past work for Google rivals, including Yelp and Microsoft.
The DOJ has also reportedly looked into competition concerns around Apple. Kanter has done work for Spotify, which competes with Apple Music.
Kanter told lawmakers he would consult with ethics officials at the DOJ about recusal if confirmed. Still, he would be in position to appoint deputies that could assist his antitrust approach.
“Mr. Kanter is a distinguished antitrust lawyer with decades of experience in the public and private sectors,” stated Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “He is a highly influential advocate for strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement — with a special focus on the digital economy. With his extensive experience, deep knowledge of the law, and masterful understanding of the challenges facing antitrust law enforcers, Mr. Kanter will be an outstanding addition to the Justice Department.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, a 32-year-old Columbia University law professor, Lina Khan, was finally unveiled this past June to be the leader for the Federal Trade Commission, which is the agency that carries out the federal government’s enforcement of consumer protection and antitrust laws. Many prominent Republicans, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), issued their approval of her extreme hawkish approach in regards to regulating technology firms.