JUSTICE Department urges Supreme Court to deny Microsoft appeal request
Friday, August 31st 2001, 12:00 am
News On 6
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court on Friday to reject Microsoft's request for review of the antitrust case against the computer software giant.
The software manufacturer argues that the case is ``ripe'' for the high court's review, ``but Microsoft offers no satisfactory explanation of why that is so,'' states the 26-page Justice Department filing.
The case currently is before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who will determine what punishment Microsoft should face.
A federal appeals court found that Microsoft engaged in an unlawful course of conduct to maintain its monopoly for Intel-compatible personal computer operating systems, sending the case back to the lower court and ordering that a new judge decide the punishment.
Microsoft wants the nation's highest court to determine whether the appeals court determined the proper remedy after it found that the original judge in the case had improper contacts with the news media.
``Granting review on that question now will not eliminate the prospect of future requests'' for Supreme Court review, said the Justice Department brief.
``Microsoft's petition provides clear notice that'' hearing the company's arguments now ``would likely lead to multiple, piecemeal requests for review _ precisely the result'' that the high court's standard practices ``are designed to avoid,'' said the government's filing.
The department concluded that the case ``should now go forward'' in the court court and that ``there is no warrant for further delay.''
In a public statement responding to the DOJ filing, Microsoft said what is at issue ``goes to the very heart of judicial integrity and is fundamental to the public confidence in the trial process.'' Microsoft's request is ``substantive, supported by past precedent and concerns an issue that is ripe for Supreme Court consideration,'' said the statement by company spokesman Jim Desler.
Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee randomly selected by computer this month to preside over the landmark case, also will review whether Microsoft broke the law by bundling its Internet Explorer software with its Windows operating systems.
Kollar-Kotelly ordered the Justice Department and Microsoft to file a joint report by Sept. 14 outlining proposals for bringing in new witnesses and seeking additional documents.
Such decisions could prompt a new round of testimony and discovery. Both sides will report to Kollar-Kotelly what additional information they will seek from each other and when they hope to get it.
Kollar-Kotelly replaces Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who had ordered Microsoft to be split into two separate companies. An appeals court upheld his finding of antitrust violations but set aside his breakup order.