Experts Join AAI in Law360 Article Detailing Need for Antitrust AAG

Law360’s June 28, 2021 article “No Permanent Biden DOJ Antitrust Chief, No ‘Bold Action’” cites AAI’s recent letter encouraging the Biden Administration to act expeditiously to appoint a highly qualified Assistant Attorney General to lead the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

From the article:

The wait is already the longest the DOJ Antitrust Division has faced in at least 40 years. Since Ronald Reagan, the longest any president has taken to name his first permanent antitrust AAG was the 116 days it took George H.W. Bush to name James F. Rill to the job on May 16, 1989. Barack Obama took the least time, appointing Christine A. Varney on Feb. 23, 2009. On average, the first permanent antitrust AAG of a president’s first term has been forwarded to the Senate for confirmation in just over 73 days. As of Friday, June 25, Biden has been president for 156 days……The American Antitrust Institute, a group that advocates for robust enforcement of the antitrust laws, sent a letter to Biden on Thursday urging him to name a pick for AAG promptly. The letter commended the acting leadership and career staff for the job they’ve done but said the division’s front office “remains in limbo at a time when the U.S. economy needs enforcement that is focused and firing on all cylinders.”

The group cautioned against trying to find a candidate who is “politically palatable” across the ideological spectrum.

“A prolonged search for such a candidate cannot be reconciled with the need to begin a new era of strong antitrust enforcement, without further delay,” the letter said. “Americans remain in need of an AAG that is in charge and who knows how to win antitrust cases against powerful firms on behalf of victims. And they need that appointee to be confirmed by the Senate promptly.”

But even when Biden does name a pick to lead the division permanently, the name alone may not remove all the questions surrounding the administration’s enforcement approach.