Jonathan Kanter’s Confirmation as Head of DOJ Antitrust Division Will Show Consumer Welfare Standard Remains a US Antitrust Principle, Says ITIF

October 28, 2021

WASHINGTON—Following Jonathan Kanter’s confirmation today by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as next head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from Aurelien Portuese, ITIF’s director of the Schumpeter Project on Competition Policy:

Kanter’s approach to antitrust will generate a rift between the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whose chair disparaged the consumer welfare standard. 

During his confirmation hearing, Jonathan Kanter has surprisingly acknowledged that the consumer welfare standard should remain a guiding principle for U.S. antitrust law enforcementthereby departing from the radical approach advocated by his Neo-Brandeisians fellows. 

Kanter’s beliefs and experience in antitrust practice predict a more traditional approach to antitrust, at odds with the radical and unprincipled enforcement strategy of the new FTC. A rift between the two antitrust agencies could negatively impact businesses seeking legal clarity on how to best innovate and grow.

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Jonathan Kanter’s Confirmation as Head of DOJ Antitrust Division Will Show Consumer Welfare Standard Remains a US Antitrust Principle, Says ITIF