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The Rule of Reason Re-Examined

 |  October 29, 2012

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Ned Cavanagh (St. John’s University – School of Law) has a new work on The Rule of Reason Re-Examined

ABSTRACT: This article analyzes the application of the Rule of Reason as articulated by Justice Brandeis in Chicago Board of Trade v. United States to alleged restraints of trade in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. It argues that the Brandeis formulation, which requires courts to consider a broad range of economic factors and then weigh procompetitive benefits against anticompetitive effects, has proven unwieldy in the hands of trial judges. Because the Brandeis formulation provides little guidance as to how these factors should be weighed, courts have struggled to develop clear, predictable, and consistent standards under section 1. This article considers several alternatives to the Brandeis formulation and recommends that courts can revitalize the Rule of Reason by using the highly structured approach of the D.C. Circuit in the Three Tenors case to develop antitrust rules that are clear, predictable, and administrable.