U.S. Courts Said To Abet Monopolies and Unfair Competition

The U.S. Courts were sharply criticized this week by a bipartisan subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee for essentially undermining federal antitrust laws through the use of procedural obstacles and unfair legal doctrines.

The Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law issued a report stating that in the decades since the U.S. Congress enacted antitrust laws “the courts have significantly weakened these laws and made it increasingly difficult for federal antitrust enforcers and private plaintiffs to successfully challenge anticompetitive conduct and mergers.”

By adopting a “narrow” definition of consumer welfare as the sole goal of antitrust laws, the report states, the U.S. Supreme Court “limited the analysis of competitive harm to focus primarily on price and output rather than the competitive process – contravening legislative history and legislative intent.”

An email request for comment sent to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts was not acknowledged.

The subcommittee also blasted Congress itself for failing to step in and correct court rulings adverse to the plain language of antitrust laws. In the past, the report states, Congress regularly investigated the rise and abuse of market power but its attention in recent years has “fallen short” in the face of “ferocious opposition” from lobbyists.

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