Bloomberg published an item today on recommendations by the Antitrust Modernization Commission.  If accurate, the report will provoke no joy among the private attorneys-general who prosecute civil cases under federal and state antitrust laws.

You can cast your eyeballs across your own copy of the full report, which the AMC just now made available and which Blawgletter hasn’t had time to read, here.

Here follows a quick run-down on the AMC’s proposals per Bloomberg:

  • Repeal the 1936 law that bans sellers from granting big purchasers extraordinary price breaks.
  • Overturn a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Illinois Brick) that limits federal price-fixing cases to people who bought directly from a price fixer.
  • Eliminate state law cases by indirect purchasers against price fixers.
  • Abolish full treble damages.

Blawgletter read the other day that the AMC’s notions of "modernization" would remove key protections for consumers and small businesses.  The Bloomberg list casts no doubt on that thesis.

Blawgletter also recalls that the membership of the nominally bipartisan AMC fairly bristles with people who oppose vigorous antitrust enforcement.  (Nary a plaintiffs’ lawyer among them!  See official profiles here.)  One could have predicted that result in light of the fact that the President appointed four members, the Senate "leadership" another four, and the House "leadership" that last four.

And we also heard that the new Congress — in contrast to the one that created the AMC in 2002 — will treat the Commission’s nostrums to a wake instead of a celebration.  Such a consummation Blawgletter devoutly wishes.

Barry Barnett

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