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Delrahim Pick Signals Traditional Republican Antitrust Tack

March 27, 2017, Law360

Deborah Garza is quoted in a Law360 article regarding the appointment of Makan Delrahim to head the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Given President Trump’s comments on the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, there is some concern about caving to White House pressure. However, according to Garza, it wouldn't be the first time the division had to deal with a president commenting on whether a particular transaction should go through. During the Reagan administration, the president told the press he didn't see what was wrong with a major steel industry merger, she recalls. "Our perspective [in the division] was, well, the president might say that, but then again his Justice Department hadn't fully vetted the transaction," Garza says. "Staff just did what staff does. We didn't pull punches. I suspect that will be the case here too."

Commenting on the focus of the Department under Delrahim, Garza says, “There was a sense by some, whether or not it was warranted ... that the balance of respect for intellectual property rights and preserving the ability of patent owners to fully exploit those patent rights had been giving way a little bit to antitrust issues. That's one area where I think potentially Makan as leader might make a difference." She adds, “It's very important for the Justice Department as part of the executive branch to be front and center on these issues. For whatever reason, there's a perception that the FTC had taken up the lead on that, [but] I think Makan having that focus may bring that energy to it that may have been lacking."

 

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