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Senate Judiciary Committee advances DOJ antitrust nominee

During an abbreviated business meeting June 8, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary voted 19-1 to advance the nomination of Makan Delrahim as the next head of the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division.

The bipartisan committee vote bodes well for Delrahim, who must still be confirmed for the role of assistant attorney general, antitrust division, at the Justice Department by a full Senate vote.

Delrahim serves as deputy assistant and deputy counsel to the president, and is a former deputy assistant attorney general for the antitrust division.

Among the concerns that had previously been raised by senators on the Judiciary Committee were Delrahim's views on vertical mergers, such as the one being proposed by AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. In a written response, Delrahim noted that while the majority of antitrust scholars recognize most vertical mergers raise fewer serious competition concerns than horizontal mergers, there are instances where a vertical merger can have anti-competitive effects.

"It is therefore important to carefully and closely assess the facts to determine whether there is, on balance, a harm to consumers," Delrahim said.