In a new opinion piece, The Wall Street Journal blasts the judge in Apple’s e-book antitrust case. The scathing editorial calls Judge Denise Cote “abusive,” and says that she has “essentially ruled before hearing the evidence.”
In “Apple’s Star Chamber,” The Wall Street Journal decries the judge for overstepping her authority. Specifically, they are appalled that Cote “appointed her friend Michael Bromwich as an external monitor to review antitrust at Apple, which he has interpreted as carte blanche to act as the inquisitor of all things Cupertino.”
The op-ed comes one week after Apple filed an official complaint against Bromwich, who the company says is charging too much for his services.
In July, Cote ruled that Apple was guilty of colluding with five major U.S. publishers to drive up the price of books. One part of the remedy is that Bromwich is tasked with keeping tabs on Apple’s dealings with book publishers. His fees are paid by Apple.
In Apple’s latest court filing, the iPhone maker says that Bromwich’s fees are excessive, and his requests have fallen outside of his mandated jurisdiction.
The Wall Street Journal agrees, noting:
The “judicial duty” under the Constitution’s Article III vests judges with the power to resolve “cases and controversies.” Prosecutors enforce laws, conduct investigations and uncover evidence. Judges aren’t supposed to appoint their own agents to annex such activities reserved for the executive branch. Mr. Bromwich has rewritten his job description to investigate Apple all over again, not simply monitor if Apple is abiding by the terms of the court judgment while it appeals the case.
To date, Bromwich has racked up $138,432.40 in charges for his first two weeks. He is charging Apple $1,025 per hour for his services.
The Wall Street Journal concludes the current arrangement needs to be changed due to the relationship between Cote and Bromwich. They state, “The Second Circuit where (Cote’s) ruling is on appeal should remove her from the case. Her condominium with Mr. Bromwich is offensive to the rule of law and a disgrace to the judiciary.”