Hatch statement on DOJ lawsuit to block AT&T-Time Warner merger

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on the announcement that the Department of Justice would be filing a lawsuit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger:

Today brings momentous news in the antitrust space. As I have stressed previously on the floor of the Senate, antitrust law is poised to take center stage in the years to come, and officials of both parties need to start paying attention. I am not prepared to comment, in any detail, on the merits of this case. Only those involved are familiar with the full record; everyone else is set to learn a lot more in the days and weeks to come.

What I can unequivocally say, however, is that I am proud of Makan Delrahim. Throughout an unnecessarily protracted confirmation debate, there were voices suggesting he wasn’t disinterested enough, independent enough, or open-minded enough, to make the tough calls that the Antitrust Division requires. Today, those in doubt learned otherwise.

I plan to take a close look at the facts and arguments made in this suit. In the meantime, allow me to reiterate that sound and vigorous antitrust enforcement is not merely another form of government overreach. It is, rather, our last and best hope for staving off the kind of command-and-control regulation antithetical to the free enterprise system. With sound antitrust enforcement, the market – rather than the government bureaucrat – disciplines our businesses into offering higher prices, greater quality, and enhanced innovation.

Now is the time to get serious about antitrust, and to get serious about getting it right. We don’t have the room – and with the rate of change these days, we don’t have the time – for the same-old partisan name-calling and economic sophistry. I look forward to the debate this suit is sure to spur.