On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Google critic and competition lawyer Jonathan Kanter to head the Justice Department’s antitrust department, marking yet another progressive victory in antitrust enforcement under the Biden administration.
Kanter has a long history of representing technology companies like Yelp and Microsoft in lawsuits that accuse Google of anti-competitive behavior. Now that he has been confirmed, Kanter will lead several competition cases from the Justice Department against big tech, including a monopoly lawsuit against Google alleging that the company maintains an illegal monopoly on the digital advertising market.
“Throughout his career, Kanter has been doing it [sic] has been a leading advocate and expert in promoting strong and meaningful enforcement of antitrust and competition policies, “the White House said in a statement over the summer.
Edges is just the latest progressive favorite confirmed to lead the federal government’s crackdown on technology companies like Facebook and Google. In June, the Senate confirmed Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission. Khan first became prominent as a law student after writing a 2017 paper titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” The newspaper argued that the government needs new antitrust laws to prevent anti-competitive behavior in the technology industry.
The FTC has the power to sue companies for anti-competitive behavior, and the agency is currently involved in lawsuits against Facebook and Google. Edges is closely aligned with Khan and progressive antitrust researcher Tim Wu, who currently sits on the National Economic Council.
Kanter’s history of suing large technology companies in the past has led to calls from critics for him to withdraw from the DOJ’s active antitrust lawsuits against Google.
“Given that Kanter is famous for representing Microsoft and Yelp and attacking Google, Kanter will raise questions about his ability to impartially enforce the law against technology companies, like the FTC Chair Khan,” NetChoice Vice President and Attorney General Carl Szabo said in a statement on this summer.