By Joseph Chalfant

President Joe Biden announced that he would tap Jonathan Kanter to lead the Justice Department’s anticompetitive enforcement efforts as the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust.

“Jonathan Kanter is a distinguished antitrust lawyer with over 20 years of experience. Throughout his career, Kanter has also been a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy,” the White House said in a press release.

Before his nomination, Kanter founded the antitrust firm The Kanter Law Group. He also worked as the Co-Chair of the antitrust practice at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP and worked in the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Competition.

He will take over as the DOJ inches closer to its trial date in its antitrust suit with Google. The DOJ and 14 states have joined together in the suit, alleging that Google uses its dominant market position to force companies to use Google’s proprietary advertising technology.

Carl Szabo, general counsel of NetChoice, whose members include Amazon, Facebook, and Google, expressed concern over a conflict of interest.

“This will move the Department of Justice from focusing primarily on consumers to focusing primarily on advancing policy and the interests of corporate competitors,” Carl Szabo. “One of the substantial challenges before Kanter is attempting to appear impartial as the DOJ attempts to bring antitrust suits against tech firms that he either previously represented or worked against as an attorney.”

Last month, President Biden appointed Lina Khan, a prominent critic of Big Tech companies, as chair of the FTC. Kanter’s nomination by the administration adds another critic of these companies to the ranks of federal watchdogs, signaling the administration’s desire to crack down on Big Tech. President Biden’s selection of antitrust hardliners has received praise from anti-monopoly advocacy groups.

“Kanter’s nomination, which comes shortly after President Biden directed federal agencies to prioritize addressing corporate concentration and named Lina Khan Chair of the FTC, is further evidence that President Biden is committed to addressing concentrated power to build an economy that is more just, equitable, and secure,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project in a statement. “The Senate should confirm him swiftly.”

The appointment cements a mounting government effort to regulate the tech industry. Tech giants are facing numerous lawsuits from states across the country in a largely bipartisan movement. Several bills have also been introduced in both the House and Senate that aim to empower regulatory agencies.