Big Tech Under Antitrust Scrutiny by DOJ

Justice Department Opens Antitrust Review of Big Tech Companies: (“The federal government has turned its full investigative powers toward examining the world’s biggest technology companies, building on a backlash against the industry that has been growing for over a year. * * * The Justice Department said on Tuesday that it would start an antitrust review into how internet giants had accumulated market power and whether they had acted to reduce competition. Similar inquiries are underway in Congress and at the Federal Trade Commission, which shares antitrust oversight responsibilities with the Justice Department. * * * The action is the clearest sign yet that the longtime arguments that helped shield the tech giants from antitrust scrutiny are eroding. Since the 1970s, a consensus in antitrust circles has been that if companies were focused on consumer welfare — for example, by offering low prices — they were not likely to attract federal intervention. Since companies like Google and Facebook largely provide free services, the thinking went, they were not subject to federal antitrust examination.”)

First Step Act Frees Over 3,000 Federal Inmates

Inmates Freed as Justice Department Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law: (“More than 3,000 inmates were freed from federal prison on Friday as part of the Justice Department’s implementation of the sweeping bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year. * * * The department has faced sharp criticism over its execution of the act. The partial government shutdown in January stymied progress on its implementation, which was further overshadowed by a debate over when the bill authorized the release of thousands of prisoners. * * * Advocates have expressed worries that the department would slow-walk implementation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others within the department who stayed on after he was fired had fiercely opposed the law. * * * The deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, sought to tamp down those concerns at a news conference on Friday to announce that the department had met the deadline for the prison releases, as well as other milestones of the law, called the First Step Act.”)

Justice John Paul Stevens Dies at Age 99

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Who Led Liberal Wing, Dies at 99: (“John Paul Stevens, whose 35 years on the United States Supreme Court transformed him, improbably, from a Republican antitrust lawyer into the outspoken leader of the court’s liberal wing, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 99. * * * The cause was complications of a stroke he suffered the day before, the Supreme Court announced in a statement. * * * When he retired in 2010 at the age of 90, Justice Stevens was the second-oldest and third-longest-serving justice ever to sit on the court. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was about eight months older when he retired in 1932; William O. Douglas had served 36 years (1939-75), and Stephen J. Field served a few days more than Justice Stevens (1863-97).”)

Restoration of Rights Update 2019

New Restoration Laws Take Center Stage in Second Quarter of 2019: (“State legislatures across the country are moving quickly and creatively to repair some of the damage done by the War on Crime, which left a third of the adult U.S. population with a criminal record.  In the second quarter of 2019, 26 states have enacted an eye-popping total of 75 separate new laws aimed at addressing the disabling effects of a record – bringing the first-half total to 94 new laws enacted by 36 states.  By way of comparison, in all of 2018 there were 61 new restoration laws enacted in 32 states and two territories, which was then a record.”)

Bank of America Drops Private Prison Industry

Shares of Private Prison Companies Slump After Bank of America Cuts Financial Ties: (“Private prison companies took another dive on Wednesday after Bank of America announced it would no longer finance the facilities. * * * What’s happening: Shares of major private prison companies GEO Group and CoreCivic had another major selloff, slumping 4.2% and 4.4% respectively after the BofA news. * * * Reuters’ Imani Moise, who broke the news, also made waves in March with news that JPMorgan had made a similar declaration, and Wells Fargo also announced it would stop loans to the industry. * * * Background: Activists have stepped up pressure against the financing of private prisons amid heightened tension over immigration policies from the Trump administration and concerns about facility conditions. Private prisons account for about two-thirds of people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to S&P Global Ratings estimates. * * * Earlier this month, the companies were rocked by an announcement from presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted about about her plan to terminate private prisons entirely. * * * That news sent GEO to its biggest intraday drop since March. CoreCivic fell by as much as 6%, the largest intraday decline of the year. * * * The big picture: GEO Group’s stock is up a little more than 3% year-to-date, but has fallen more than 16% since June 18. * * * CoreCivic’s stock is up 14% for the year, but has dropped more than 18% since June 18.”)