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Thomas Brown, Jan 09, 2008
A group of academics filed a brief in October urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant the petition for certiorari in Pacific Bell Telephone Company v. linkLine Communications, No. 07-512. In and of itself, this is not surprising. Academics often file briefs urging the Court to grant review, and antitrust cases in particular seem to attract a fairly high degree of academic interest. But the coalition of academics supporting this particular petition is uncommonly broad. Gregory Sidak, Robert Bork, Robert Crandall, and William Baumol, among others, are signed on. And the tone of the brief is quite strident. According to the brief, the case below, if it stands, will “put antitrust at war with itself to a degree not witnessed” for more than three decades. [ … ] Although their brief is a tad alarmist, the academics are right. The panel majority’s decision in linkLine, for all its seeming modesty, represents a major step backward in antitrust analysis. It is a throwback to the era in which courts routinely handed down antitrust opinions that were directly contrary to the interests of consumers. The Supreme Court should issue the writ of certiorari to take the case and, one hopes, reverse it.
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