Judges Judith W. Rogers, Robert L. Wilkins and David B. Sentelle will be on the bench in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to weigh in on the Department of Justice effort to undo the $85 billion deal. The DOJ filed suit a year ago, maintaining the merger was anti–competitive and would harm consumers.
Sentelle, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and Rogers, an appointee of Bill Clinton, were involved with one of the only other antitrust battles this century, the effort to break up Microsoft. While the pair, as well as five other judges, refrained from enforcing a breakup of the company. But the judges ruled the company behaved like a monopoly. The legal outcome diminished Microsoft’s influence for much of the 2000s, but it has regained its clout as this decade has progressed.
In June, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon issued a decision not only siding with AT&T but strongly encouraging the DOJ to drop any attempt to appeal. The agency went ahead and filed its appeal over the summer — while Time Warner has been rebranded WarnerMedia and has made a series of moves as it gets integrated into AT&T, the Turner Broadcasting unit has been kept in a silo removed from DirecTV or other distribution assets as part of an agreement struck at the time of the close.
Wilkins joined the court in 2014 as an appointee of Barack Obama.
Brett Kavanaugh was a judge in the D.C. Circuit until being confirmed last month as a Supreme Court justice.