Would Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett be good or bad for Apple?

President Donald Trump appears poised to cement a supermajority of conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. On Saturday, Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, currently a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. U.S. Senate Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to confirm Barrett either before or after the election in November.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Daren Fonda for Barron’s:

The battle over Trump’s nominee is likely to consume Washington over the next few weeks… Chaos isn’t good for Wall Street, but if there’s good news for businesses, it’s that the court is likely to be friendlier to free enterprise—chipping away at regulatory powers, restraining consumer rights to sue, and handing victories to companies on a host of issues.

The court’s new makeup could have a major impact on the tech industry. The Department of Justice may be close to filing an antitrust case against Alphabet. A suit against Facebook may be coming, and antitrust probes are underway against Amazon.com. Apple is also on the defense, after the court allowed a class-action case to proceed involving claims of anticompetitive pricing at its App Store.

Ideological divides are likely to harden on the court, impacting not just rulings, but also the critical wording of opinions, and petitions for cases to be heard. Barrett is known as a reliably conservative judge; she clerked for Scalia and advocates a “textualist” approach to statutes, avoiding expansive interpretations.

Conservatives such as Barrett tend to be more skeptical of regulatory powers and aim to roll back “deference” to federal agencies—the practice of granting them latitude to interpret laws and impose remedies and fines. That deference, stemming from a 1984 Supreme Court case involving Chevron (CVX), has been challenged repeatedly by conservative groups. Antitrust claims may also face steeper hurdles since conservatives tend to set a higher bar for proving economic harm, according to Joel Mitnick, an antitrust expert at law firm Cadwalader… “What you’re seeing—and this should be good news for everyone—is that justices are trying to be careful not to write legislation, which isn’t their job,” says Elizabeth Papez, a partner at law firm Gibson Dunn and former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should have no problem either way if their App Store case goes to the Supreme Court as the company, which, importantly, does not have anything near a monopoly in smartphones or smartphone app stores, is simply and rightfully charging a fee for developers who choose to conduct business in their store.

[Attribution: Apple 3.0. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

  1. First and foremost, Justice Barrett will be good for the country. Since she will follow the law, not create them from the bench like the dearly departed Ginsburg and other Libs, she will be good for Apple, too, which follows the laws as they are written.

    Seat Amy Coney Barrett, but, first, let the Democrats hang themselves from their own petard as they spew baseless venom and lies against a wholesome, smart, accomplished American woman of faith.

    1. “First Then,” I would love to hear your enlightened views on the other article titled, “Apple said to launch mini LED 12.9-inch iPad Pro in early 2021, MacBook Pro in 2H21” . . . This is a Mac website first, and I have ‘never’ seen you post any comments on Mac related articles . . . Go ahead, you can do it. I’m sure you have some expansive views on LED technology.

      1. I’m actually waiting for Mini LED-backlit iPad Pros and MacBook Pros to come online before my next upgrades. I think they’re going to deliver all of the benefits of OLED without the drawbacks, so they’re worth the wait (hopefully, not too much longer). Thanks for asking.

        1. I kinda don’t think we’re going to get mini-LED. I think we’re going to get an Apple created screen technology that is as good for all intents and purposes.

  2. Not sure how “restraining consumer rights to sue” counts as pro-free enterprise. Sounds like putting a thumb on the scales of justice to me. The essential basis for a free market is that the parties each have the power to reach a mutually beneficial bargain and the ability to enforce it. When only one party had the ability to enforce the agreement, and the more powerful party at that, there is no more than the illusion of freedom.

      1. She actually said that she would not look exclusively to the US Constitution. To quote, “ Why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world? I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.” Somebody who had spent over fifty years interpreting the Constitution was more aware than any of us of the places where ambiguities in the text could be clarified and conflicts resolved. The specific context of her remark was the drafting of a new constitution for Egypt during their brief reprieve from authoritarian rule. A document drafted for 1787 America might require adaptation for 2012 Egypt, she suggested.

        As RBG noted, judges and lawyers in America are all originalists and textualists after their own fashion. Interpreting authoritative texts and applying them to fact situations is what the common law is all about. However, it is easier to do that with a text that has been drafted with modern problems in mind. Guessing how Madison would have ruled on a 21st century technology case is, in fact, guesswork. The difference between Scalia and Ginsburg was never whether they respected the writings of the Founding Fathers—both did so, equally. It was whether it is really possible to know with certainty how they would have approached a modern issue that they never actually thought of. Ginsburg was much more skeptical about the possibility of doing that without projecting our own attitudes into the past.

  3. “chipping away at regulatory powers, restraining consumer rights”

    Making Apple compete against dishonest competitors and corrupt unsafe products is not going to be good for anyone.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.