U.S. Justice Dept antitrust nominee Kanter has confirmation hearing next week

·1 min read

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Jonathan Kanter, President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the antitrust division of the Justice Department, will appear for a confirmation hearing next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee said on its website.

Kanter's nomination is not expected to spark any significant opposition at the hearing on Wednesday. If the committee approves the nomination, it goes to the full Senate for confirmation.

Biden's decision to pick Kanter, a longtime critic of Alphabet's Google, as the Justice Department's antitrust chief is the latest sign the White House is determined to rein in the world's biggest corporations, especially Big Tech. Progressives who advocate tougher enforcement of antitrust law pushed for his nomination.

Kanter has spent years representing rivals of Google. The Justice Department sued Google last year, alleging that it broke antitrust law in seeking to hobble rivals.

The Biden administration previously chose two antitrust progressives with tech expertise, Tim Wu for the National Economic Council and Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kanter will take the reins of the Justice Department's antitrust division amid calls for tougher enforcement, with special criticism aimed at Google, Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc.

The companies have vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

The division will play a key role in implementing the Biden executive order aimed at promoting competition across the U.S. economy. In addition to suing Google, the Justice Department is also investigating Apple.

The Federal Trade Commission shares the job of antitrust enforcement with the Justice Department.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

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