Top DOJ lawyer faces another big decision after AT&T-Time Warner case
Craig Conrath could be in for a tough 48 hours.
The Justice Department’s director of litigation — and the government’s lead lawyer in the AT&T case — Conrath also led the legal charge in a case against American Express argued before the Supreme Court this spring.
The high court is expected to hand down a decision in that case Thursday.
The septuagenarian — a 40-year-plus veteran of Justice — was dealt an embarrassing blow Tuesday when federal Judge Richard Leon totally rejected the government’s antitrust case against the $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner.
Conrath is known for his warm relationships with judges, and is more professorial than confrontational, said a source who has worked against him.
“He likes to lead trials.”
The case against American Express alleges that the credit card company prohibits stores from encouraging customers to use other credit cards that charge lower fees — stifling competition. The allegation is that those actions also result in higher retail prices.
While a trial judge sided with Conrath, an appeals court ruled against Justice.
President Barack Obama’s Justice Department brought the case against AmEx, while President Trump’s sued AT&T.
Conrath’s victories include the department’s win last year in stopping Aetna from buying Humana for $34 billion.