A Senate committee on Thursday permitted a critic of the tech giants to guide the Justice Division’s antitrust division, sending his nomination to the total Senate for a closing vote.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted for Jonathan Kanter’s nomination to guide the division with out taking a depend of how every lawmaker voted. However one Republican senator, John Cornyn of Texas, requested to be marked down as voting in opposition to the nomination.
Mr. Kanter mentioned during his confirmation hearing that he supported “vigorous antitrust enforcement within the know-how space.” As a lawyer in non-public observe, Mr. Kanter has represented critics of Google, Fb, Amazon and Apple — serving to them make the antitrust case in opposition to the tech giants.
If confirmed by the total Senate, as is broadly anticipated, he’ll be a part of different critics of Silicon Valley in key antitrust positions. Lina Khan, a younger authorized scholar who wrote a preferred critique of Amazon, leads the Federal Commerce Fee. One other scholar who argues for better antitrust enforcement in opposition to main corporations, Tim Wu, holds an financial coverage position on the White Home.
A number of lawmakers praised Mr. Kanter on Thursday, saying he was the fitting particular person to sort out issues with company focus all through the financial system.
“We imagine in permitting the markets to work,” mentioned Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. “And the markets aren’t actually working very well proper now for some individuals.’
Mr. Cornyn, who voted in opposition to the nomination, mentioned he shared Mr. Kanter’s considerations in regards to the tech business however frightened he would extra broadly “use antitrust instruments as a hammer to attain political or social ends.”
Critics of Mr. Kanter have additionally questioned whether or not he may find yourself prosecuting instances he inspired as a lawyer for opponents of the tech giants. The Justice Division has already sued Google, arguing it illegally maintained its monopoly over on-line search. And it’s investigating whether or not Apple has violated antitrust legal guidelines.