Is the Apple E-Book Judge Out of Control?
Is the federal judge who oversaw Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) e-book price-fixing trial acting abusively and unconstitutionally? According to a new editorial by the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Rago, there are several troubling issues with how U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has implemented the terms of her injunction against Apple.
In October, Judge Cote appointed former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich as the “External Compliance Monitor” who would oversee and review Apple’s internal antitrust compliance policies. However, Rago pointed out that this was improper, since Bromwich is a personal friend of Judge Cote. He also noted that Bromwich has no professional experience with antitrust law.
According to the official White House website, Bromwich previously worked as an independent monitor for a police department and also helped the U.S. government oversee reforms in the oil industry. Although his record shows that he has experience in “applying rigorous reforms and oversight” in various organizations, he has no experience in overseeing a company’s antitrust compliance.
As previously reported by Fortune, Judge Cote issued an order on November 21 that proposed that Bromwich be allowed to have ex parte meetings with her – in other words, meetings without Apple present. Although Judge Cote later dropped this proposal when Apple objected, Rago noted that her order was “flatly unconstitutional,” since it blended her judicial duties with prosecutorial powers that should only be used by the executive branch.