The Antitrust Revolution

By Lino A. Graglia
November 07, 2008
The history of antitrust law over the past four decades has been one of drastic, indeed it is not too much to say, revolutionary change. Almost every signifi cant antitrust doctrine was modified or reversed in the direction of lessening liability. Th e Warren Court (1953-‘69) functioned in an era—the era that culminated in Great Society optimism and student-led utopianism—when the general view seemed to be that there could hardly be too much law and regulation, at least economic regulation. Th e Court’s majority, and to a large extent the Department of Justice, seemed to operate with a suspicion of and presumption against the operation of free markets. The astounding result is that, with a single exception in a peculiar private case, over a period of eighteen years (1956-’74) no antitrust plaintiff , government or private, lost in the Supreme Court. Antitrust had almost achieved the legal system’s ideal of complete predictability...