Court Halts Microsoft Breakup; Disqualifies District Judge
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has reversed U.S.
District Judge Thomas Penfield Jacksons ruling to split Microsoft
into two companies.
the appeals court found merit in some of Judge Jacksons findings
that Microsoft had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, it rejected
other findings and ruled that Judge Jackson had behaved improperly
in the case by discussing his views on Microsoft and the case in
a series of media interviews. The appeals court has ordered Judge
Jackson removed from the case, which will be sent back to the U.S.
District Court for its review of the monopoly claims that were upheld
by the court.
its en banc, Per Curiam decision, the appeals court wrote
harshly of Judge Jacksons media activities, in which he was
said to have called Microsoft a "murderous street gang,"
and allegedly compared the company to drug traffickers. The appeals
court found "the line has been crossed" and Jacksons
actions had "seriously tainted the proceedings," and "Public
confidence in judicial impartiality cannot survive if judges, in
disregard of their ethical obligations, pander to the press."
According to the court, disqualification is mandatory for "conduct
that calls a judges impartiality into question." The
court also faulted Judge Jackson for not holding an evidentiary
hearing during the remedy phase of the case to give the parties
a chance to dispute the facts they disagreed with, which is a "basic
appeals court reversed Judge Jacksons finding that Microsoft
had illegally tried to monopolize the Internet browser market. And,
the court remanded the lower courts finding that Microsoft
had violated federal antitrust law by tying its browser to its operating
case will now await reassignment to a new trial judge. House Majority
Leader Richard Armey (R-Texas) is already calling the decision a
victory. "Our antitrust laws should not be used to hold our
most successful companies back to give the competition a chance
to catch up. That kind of tired economic thinking is exactly what
our new economy does not need."
sum up, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, remanded in
part, and in the end vacated in full the final judgement.
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