Virtual Panel Discussion:
A Modern Antitrust Paradox? The consumer welfare standard and recent proposals
Robert Bork’s consumer welfare paradigm, which has heavily influenced the evolution of antitrust analysis and enforcement over the past 42 years, is under attack. Critics from both parties assert not only that antitrust has been unable to keep up with developments in the high tech, finance, and communications industries, but also that competition law should be weaponized and used as a tool to address broader concerns such as privacy, inequality, and political viewpoint discrimination. In response, the DOJ and FTC have launched investigations into Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee has launched its own investigation into these companies and are also reviewing whether changes are necessary to existing antitrust laws. It is critical to understand the arguments at the core of the antitrust debate and what is motivating recent proposals. Will Robert Bork’s “consumer welfare” standard survive?
Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen
Partner, Baker Botts LLP
Maureen K. Ohlhausen chairs the antitrust group at Baker Botts LLP, where she focuses on competition, privacy and regulatory issues and frequently represents clients in the tech, life sciences, energy, and retail industries. She served as Acting FTC Chairman from January 2017 to May 2018 and as a Commissioner starting in 2012. She directed all FTC competition and consumer protection work, with an emphasis on technology issues. Ohlhausen has published dozens of articles on antitrust, privacy, regulation, FTC litigation, and telecommunications law issues and has testified over a dozen times before Congress. She has received numerous awards, including the FTC's Robert Pitofsky Lifetime Achievement Award. Prior to serving as a Commissioner, Ohlhausen led the FTC's Internet Access Task Force and headed the FTC practice group at a leading communications law firm. Ohlhausen clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Hon. Joshua D. Wright
University Professor and the Executive Director, Global Antitrust Institute at Scalia Law School at George Mason University
Joshua D. Wright is University Professor and the Executive Director of the Global Antitrust Institute at Scalia Law School at George Mason University. Professor Wright also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Economics. In 2013, the Senate unanimously confirmed Professor Wright as a member of the FTC. He rejoined Scalia Law School as a full-time faculty member in 2015. Professor Wright is a leading scholar in antitrust law, economics, intellectual property, and consumer protection, and has published more than 100 articles and book chapters, co-authored a leading antitrust casebook, and edited several book volumes. He was awarded the Paul M. Bator Award by the Federalist Society in 2014. Wright previously served the FTC in the Bureau of Competition as its inaugural Scholar-in-Residence. Wright’s return to the FTC as a Commissioner marked his fourth stint at the agency, after having served as an intern in both the Bureau of Economics and Bureau of Competition.
Geoffrey A. Manne
President and Founder, International Center for Law & Economics
Geoffrey A. Manne is the president and founder of the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Portland, Oregon, and a distinguished fellow at Northwestern University’s Center on Law, Business, and Economics. Manne is an expert in the economic analysis of law, focusing particularly on antitrust, telecom, IP, and the regulation of technology. After teaching law & economics, international economic regulation, corporations, and other courses at Lewis & Clark Law School for several years, he decamped to work in Microsoft’s legal & corporate affairs department. He subsequently founded ICLE in 2009. In 2017 he was appointed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to a two-year term on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, and before that he served for two years on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee.
Director of Public Policy, The Committee for Justice
Ashley Baker is the Director of Public Policy at the Committee for Justice. Her focus areas include the Supreme Court, technology and regulatory policy, and judicial nominations. Her writing has appeared in Fox News, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Hill, Law360, RealClearPolitics, The American Spectator, and elsewhere. Ashley is an active member of the Federalist Society, where she serves as a member of the Regulatory Transparency Project's Cyber & Privacy working group. As a member of the Republication National Lawyers Association, she has served as a speaker on the Supreme Court, the federal judiciary, and other topics such as FISA reform. As an expert on the judicial nomination process, Ashley worked closely on the efforts to confirm Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Much of Ashley’s work is at the intersection of the intersection of the courts, regulation and technology. Ashley engages in policy analysis and outreach on legislation and regulations related to these issues.