Senate Confirms Nominee To Lead Antitrust Division At Department Of Justice

WASHINGTON (Sunday, December 30, 2012) – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed Sunday the Senate’s vote to confirm William Baer to be an Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice. Baer’s nomination was favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee in September.


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Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT),

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,

On the Confirmation of William Baer to be Assistant Attorney General

December 30, 2012


I am pleased that the Senate will at last vote today on the nomination of Bill Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.  His nomination has been pending for 10 months, and more than three months have passed since the Judiciary Committee favorably reported his nomination with bipartisan support.  The Antitrust Division has continued its important work with three Acting heads who have worked diligently to fulfill the mission of the office.  But those solutions are only temporary, and it is essential that the Senate undertakes its constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a permanent division head with responsibility for enforcing our Nation’s antitrust laws.

Mr. Baer is an outstanding candidate to fulfill this role.  He has spent over 35 years working in the field of antitrust and consumer protection law.  He served as Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission in the 1990s, and now chairs the Antitrust Group at the law firm of Arnold & Porter.  His nomination has received bipartisan support from leading practitioners of antitrust law, including 12 former heads of the Antitrust Division representing every presidential administration since 1972.  His nomination has also received bipartisan support from 29 former chairs of the American Bar Association’s Section on Antitrust Law, who praise his “demonstrated ability as an antitrust lawyer and his outstanding record of public service.”

Bill Baer is a leading voice on antitrust matters.  He advised the Antitrust Modernization Commission, and frequently contributes to workshops at the Department of Justice and FTC.  He was named one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” by The National Law Journal in 2010, and the “Leading Lawyer for Antitrust” in 2011.  Chambers, Who’s Who, and the Legal 500 have all recognized him as one of our country’s leading practitioners in antitrust law.

When the 12 former heads of the Antitrust Division wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Mr. Baer’s nomination earlier this year, they wrote:  “Mr. Baer’s tenure as Director of the [FTC] Bureau of Competition was marked by principled, effective enforcement of the antitrust laws and … procedures that balanced the needs of the Commission with the legitimate concerns of both businesses and consumers.  We are confident that he will continue the strong, rational, and nonpartisan antitrust enforcement tradition of the United States Department of Justice.”

After months and months of needless delays, it is time for this nomination to receive a vote, so that, if confirmed, Bill Baer can at last begin that important work to help protect the American people. 

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