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.comment: Judge Robert Bork on the Microsoft Settlement

A Leading Legal Thinker Weighs In

  • January 23, 2002
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Acceptance of the proposed settlement in U.S. v. Microsoft would clear the road for the company to extend its monopoly to most if not all aspects of computing, says Judge Robert H. Bork.

"I don't think it does anything to Microsoft," said Bork in an interview with Linux Planet. "I think it just lets them continue as they were before."

If that happens, he says, Microsoft's control is likely to extend beyond the software industry, leading to monopolies in areas including online access and the Internet.

The reality of Judge Bork is far more interesting than the caricature scribbled by his enemies, who disagree with his "strict constructionist" view -- shared with the Founding Fathers -- that government is the last resort, not the first, for solutions to societal woes.

He is known chiefly for the tremendous partisan battle that erupted when he was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan, and that, too, is sad. For his experience in the law, especially anti-trust law, is extensive, as is his scholarship. He has served as circuit judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (which has heard two U.S. v. Microsoft cases in the time since he left the bench), solicitor general, and acting attorney general of the United States, as well as 17 years as a professor at Yale Law School and 12 years in private practice. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His books include Slouching towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (1996), The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War With Itself (second edition, 1993), and The Tempting of America: the Political Seduction of the Law (1989). Published in a wide variety of periodicals, and frequent network television legal analyst, Judge Bork holds B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

Bork did work for Netscape in connection with the antitrust case and has filed memoranda in favor of a finding against Microsoft.

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