23 January 2020
Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart would have turned 105 today. His definition of obscenity – “I know it when I see it” – has been passed down through the ages, but it is not to be overshadowed by his dissenting opinion in Vons Grocery. There, he took issue with the court’s seven-to-one order finding that a joint operating agreement between two Arizona newspapers violated federal antitrust laws. In an earlier case, Justice Stewart said the sole consistency he could find in litigation brought under section 7 of the Clayton Act is that “the government always wins.” Congress has since given newspapers antitrust exemptions for joint operating agreements.