President Joe Biden has nominated Jonathan Kanter as the new head of the DOJ antitrust division, according to White House officials.
Jonathan Kanter is a lawyer who has been named a harsh critic of Google and an advocate of antitrust enforcement. A statement from the White House describes him as “a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy.”
Kanter has previously represented rival companies that have sought to sue Google over its anti-competitive practices. This includes Microsoft, Spotify, and Yelp.
The appointment could represent another major move in the fight against Big Tech, particularly Google. Confirmation into the position would give him carte blanche to sue Big Tech companies over monopolistic behavior.
Recently, Lina Khan was appointed as FTC Chair, a move that Facebook and Amazon immediately challenged, given her past criticisms of the companies. Facebook says that her past “would lead any reasonable observer to conclude that she has prejudged the Facebook antitrust case brought by the FTC.”
Kanter would likely face the same challenge from Google, given his past involvements against the company.
That said, it only highlights how Khan and Kanter would pose a major threat to Big Tech, which is already under intense scrutiny over anticompetitive practices and monopolistic behavior. Both Google and Facebook have been hit with a number of antitrust lawsuits, including a new one against the Play Store found on the best Android phones. Several newly introduced antitrust bills also seek to limit the economic power of these companies.
Kanter’s appointment as head of the DOJ antitrust division would be contingent on a Senate vote.