Politics

US President Joe Biden will nominate antitrust scholar Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission for Key Regulatory Post

US President Joe Biden declared he plans to designate Columbia Law School professor Lina Khan to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Khan is viewed as a leading scholar in the antitrust movement. Biden on Monday named a noticeable advocate of breaking Big Tech firms to a key regulatory post, in a movement proposing a forceful stance on antitrust implementation.

The White House said it was presenting the nomination of Lina Khan, an associate professor of law at Columbia University’s law school, to the Federal Trade Commission, an agency with authority over certain mergers and antitrust policy.

The move follows the naming of Tim Wu, another Big Tech critic, to an economic advisory post in the White House.

In 2017, she published a 24,000-word article in The Yale Law Journal named “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” that went viral. In it, she contends current US policy and law aren’t sufficient to hold organizations like Amazon responsible.

All the more recently, Lina Khan helped the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee complete its examination concerning Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. One of the main conclusions Democrats on the panel finished up was that Congress ought to think about breaking up tech’s biggest players.

Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Lina Khan follows his new appointment of Tim Wu to the White House’s National Economic Council. Wu is most popular for coining the term net neutrality. Like Khan, he also is a noticeable voice regarding the matter of antitrust law. Together, the appointments propose the Biden administration intends to direct Big Tech organizations forcefully.

Lina Khan recently served as counsel to the US House of Representatives subcommittee on antitrust, which a year ago released a protracted report recommending justification for separating goliaths like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

She likewise authored a 2017 paper called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” which illustrated the developing dominance of the e-commerce and tech giant, which some say helped move opinion on antitrust.

Lina Khan worked in the office of Federal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra and was legal director at the Open Markets Institute, a research organization that has been exceptionally incredulous of the Silicon Valley giants.

The news comes in the midst of a developing backlash against tech behemoths that have dominated key economic sectors and seen their impact develop during the Covid pandemic.

The move is probably going to trigger a contentious nomination fight, for certain Republicans previously expressing opposition to Lina Khan.

Utah Senator Mike Lee said recently that “being less than four years out of law school,” Lina Khan “lacks the experience necessary for such an important role as FTC Commissioner.”

Furthermore, Lee said, “her views on antitrust enforcement are also wildly out of step with a prudent approach to the law” and that her appointment “would signal that President Joe Biden intends to put ideology and politics ahead of competent antitrust enforcement.”

In any case, Charlotte Slaiman of the customer advocacy group Public Knowledge invited the news, saying recently that Lina Khan’s appointment “will signal that antitrust enforcement and important competition policy changes will be a high priority.”

Lawmakers and policymakers in recent years have been mulling the decades-old “consumer welfare” standard of antitrust enforcement, which considers a largely hands-off methodology for large firms insofar as costs are not affected.

Pundits say this methodology has permitted Big Tech firms to become unchecked with remarkable power over key sectors of the economy.

A week ago, acting FTC seat Rebecca Slaughter recommended heightened antitrust scrutiny, including of the digital economy.

“The increasing presence of large technology companies in our daily lives and our economy animates recent calls for antitrust reform,” Slaughter told a congressional panel.

Lina Khan’s selection for the FTC and the recruiting of Columbia Law’s Tim Wu as a White House counsel show that Joe Biden is set up to seek after a more interventionist antitrust agenda in which authorities are snappier to challenge consolidations and the market power of dominant organizations.

Lina Khan’s affirmation would place at the top of U.S. competition policy circles a defender of breaking up technology giants to secure competition in digital markets. She is at the forefront of a school of antitrust thinking that says the traditional playbook for policing consolidations and anticompetitive conduct is failing to take care of its job, prompting concentrated economic and political power.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Democrat who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, praised Joe Biden’s decision of Lina Khan.

“We need all hands on deck as we work to take on some of the biggest monopolies in the world,” she said in a statement, “and President Biden is making his commitment to competition policy clear.”

Khan has likewise drawn analysis for her help of reorienting antitrust enforcement to get control over direct by dominant organizations. At the point when she originally arose as a potential candidate for the FTC, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah called her perspectives on antitrust “wildly out of step with a prudent approach to the law.”

Her nomination should be affirmed by the Senate.

Lina Khan said on Twitter that she is “very honored and humbled by this nomination, and excited to get to work.”

Her nomination comes as the leadership of the FTC is in flux. The agency, which is being controlled by Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, is equitably split between Republicans and Democrats. Joe Biden should pick a permanent chair and fill one other open seat on the commission. He has designated FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Still, in her mid-30s, Lina Khan burst onto the scene in 2017 with a paper on Amazon.com Inc. that she composed as a Yale University law student. The paper, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” illustrated how the current system for surveying harm to competition shields digital platforms from antitrust scrutiny by government authorities regardless of the power they wield.

Lina Khan proceeded to work at the Open Markets Institute, an anti-monopoly think tank in Washington, and functioned as a counsel to Chopra. All the more recently she was an adviser on the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, which directed a 16-month investigation of Alphabet Inc’s. Google, Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., and Amazon.

Lina Khan was one of the authors of the panel’s report on the investigation, which blamed the tech firms for abusing their roles as gatekeepers in the digital economy and in the process of eroding innovation, entrepreneurship, privacy, and purchaser decision. It likewise incorporated a progression of suggestions for antitrust changes from confining consolidations to breaking up digital platforms.

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