U.S. Supreme Court

SG Sees Antitrust Pro-Business Tilt

The nation’s chief advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court says most of the justices are sympathetic to business interests, decidedly so in antitrust cases.

U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement said even liberal justices are joining with conservatives to protect corporate antitrust defendants. He spoke at a Philadelphia luncheon sponsored by the Federalist Society, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Clement noted that liberal Justice David H. Souter wrote the opinion in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly siding with telephone companies against consumers who alleged a secret agreement not to compete. It was one of seven antitrust cases handing defeats to plaintiffs in the last two terms.

Souter was among a seven-justice majority when he wrote that “an allegation of parallel conduct and a bare assertion of conspiracy” is not enough to proceed to trial. (See “Telecom Plaintiffs Told to Hang Up and Try Again,” in the May 25 ABA Journal eReport.)

Clement said the court appeared to be concerned about the high costs of discovery for corporate defendants.

“The business docket is a very rich part of the docket and one in which the Roberts court to date has proven very sympathetic to the concerns of corporate defendants,” Clement said.

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