In another victory for progressive Democrats clamoring for aggressive regulation of Big Tech, President Joe Biden said he intends to nominate Jonathan Kanter to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
If confirmed as assistant attorney general for the division, Kanter would join White House adviser Tim Wu and Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan in a triumvirate of tech critics with prominent jobs in the Biden administration.
“Jonathan Kanter is a distinguished antitrust lawyer with over 20 years of experience,” the White House said in a news release. “Throughout his career, Kanter has also been a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy.”
Kanter, 47, is the founder of Kanter Law Group, which bills itself as an “antitrust advocacy boutique.” He previously worked at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
“Progressives have championed Kanter to helm the DOJ’s antitrust division because of his work over the past decade representing companies, including Microsoft, that lodged antitrust complaints about Google,” Politico reported.
In October, the DOJ filed an antitrust suit against Google, the first such federal complaint against a major tech power since the Clinton administration attempted to break up Microsoft in the 1990s.
According to The New York Times, the appointment of Kanter “signals how strongly the administration is siding with the growing field of lawmakers, researchers, and regulators who say Silicon Valley has obtained outsize power over the way Americans speak with one another, buy products online and consume news.”
The Washington Post noted that the Obama administration “had a famously close relationship with Google and other tech companies and opted not to bring major antitrust action against the search giant. But the selection of Kanter, Khan, and Wu signals that Biden … intends to take a dramatically different posture in enforcing competition laws.”
Kanter began his career as a staff attorney at the FTC before moving to private practice. “He’s been a leader in the fight to check consolidated corporate power and strengthen competition in our markets,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, said.