Biden Gets Two Black Eyes from the Courts

The Biden Administration has suffered two setbacks in federal courts this week. Both are significant.

The first is the decision released today allowing Microsoft to complete its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the video gaming platform. The Biden Administration, which wants to take us back to 1950s-era antitrust madness, had sought to block the acquisition. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Microsoft can close its $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, delivering a major setback to the Biden administration’s attempt to rein in big mergers. The deal would combine Microsoft’s Xbox videogaming business with the publisher of popular franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush. The ruling means there is no current U.S. obstacle to the two companies merging.

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said in her opinion that the FTC hadn’t shown that Microsoft’s ownership of Activision games would hurt competition in the console or cloud-gaming markets. “To the contrary, the record evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content,” she wrote.

I noticed that the stocks other video gaming companies like Electronic Arts soared on the news today along with Activision.

Attracting much less news coverage, however, is a decision of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals out yesterday that rejected a proposed Department of Energy “efficiency” regulation of commercial boilers. This may not sound exciting, and to be precise this is a rule-making that stretches back to the Trump years, but suffice it to say this rule-making would serve as a precursor and platform for the proposed rules to ban gas stoves, which is high on the list of the climate cultists in the Biden Administration.

The court’s opinion is dense and highly technical, but the bottom line is that the court made a rare finding that the proposed rule was “arbitrary and capricious,” and relied on unsubstantiated models and made-up data, which the DoE refused to back up when challenged earlier in the rule-making process and district court trial. The court essentially said—”Sorry, we’re not deferring to your self-serving claims any more.”

Our friends at Master Resource have a nice write up of the opinion. Key selections:

Beleaguered energy consumers were just handed a far-reaching victory by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC Circuit). The ruling vacated a Final Rule from the U.S, Department of Energy (DOE) that would have banned the manufacture and sale of non-condensing boilers for use in commercial applications. . .

DOE’s failures were major and numerous. Previously, the Court had afforded DOE ample opportunities to rectify them, but they didn’t. Ultimately (reading in between the lines), it appears that the Court lost its patience with “the Agency” (DOE). One of the far-reaching results of this victory is that it undermines a veritable super-weapon of the administrative state: the Chevron Deference. . .

The end-result of this (amid many other analytical biases discussed in the Court ruling) is fatally skewed economic “determinations” that almost always favor stricter standards, regardless of the true economics.. As a result of this Court Order, such routine biases are now on public display to demonstrate the full intent of regulatory failures that occur within the intentionally opaque bureaucratic processes to ostensibly overcome so-called market failures.

Slowly but inexorably the judiciary is turning against the Administrative State. Faster, please. . .

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