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Applying the Per Se Rule in Criminal Antitrust Cases Contravenes the Constitution and Sherman Act

In antitrust cases, the per se rule prohibits inquiry into the reasonableness of defendants’ conduct when particular types of antitrust violations are at issue – for example, price fixing or bid rigging. In a criminal antitrust case, however, is this presumption of unreasonableness – of illegality – consistent with the Fifth and Sixth Amendments? Is it consistent with the text of the Sherman Act? NACDL, as amicus curiae, offered the Supreme Court an answer to these questions. That answer is no.