WASHINGTON – A week before the confirmation hearing of Neil Gursuch to the Supreme Court, Sen. Amy Klobuchar delivered a speech at the Center for American Progress saying it was “more than important” to press him on his views of court decisions that made it harder to pursue antitrust cases.

“Concentrated interests make it nearly impossible for entrepreneurs and small business owners to compete,” Klobuchar told the audience.

Klobuchar and Minnesota’s other senator, Al Franken, sit on the Judiciary Committee that will have to approve Gorsuch’s nomination before he goes to the full Senate to be confirmed. The federal appeals judge from Denver needs the support of eight Democrats to clear the upper house. Klobuchar and Franken have both voiced concerns that President Trump’s nominee would be too friendly to big corporate interests.

She said she wanted to know the views of Gorsuch, an antitrust expert, on the trend of the court over the last few decades to make it harder to prosecute companies for violating antitrust laws, which are designed to protect consumers and small businesses by fostering fair competition.  

Klobuchar described antitrust enforcement as especially important for rural areas, which suffer from less choices and competition.

“Antitrust has everything to do with our broader economy,” said Klobuchar, a member of the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.

But Klobuchar said that antitrust agencies need to do more, even as their budgets have stayed flat. She said she would introduce a package of bills to require parties to share information on a yearly basis after an antitrust settlement; have the federal government gather information about how investment fund ownership affects competition; and raise antitrust fees for companies filing for the review of mergers.

Klobuchar and Franken, along with the majority of senators, have met with Gorsuch to discuss his nomination to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia last year. Franken was particularly skeptical when speaking to reporters last week, saying that he doubted Gorsuch wouldn’t be a pro-corporate activist on the court.

Gorsuch will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Monday.

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