Predictions on Leegin

Thom Lambert —  26 June 2007

Well we’re coming down to the wire, folks. The Supreme Court is wrapping up its term any day now, and no still no word on Leegin. Tom Goldstein from SCOTUSBLOG tells us the decision’s coming on Thursday. He also predicts that the author will be Justice Stevens, who has an antitrust background and hasn’t written an opinion since March.

Say it ain’t so!

Justice Stevens, you may recall, was one of the two justices who, at oral argument, appeared inclined not to overrule Dr. Miles. (Souter was the other. Breyer was ambiguous.)

I stand by my earlier prediction of a 7-2 (or maybe 6-3) decision overruling Dr. Miles, with a majority opinion by Justice Scalia.

I also reaffirm my earlier promise to eat my hat if Dr. Miles is not overruled. (Mind you, there’s no consideration for that promise, nor (presumably) has there been any justifiable reliance upon it.)

Thom Lambert


I am a law professor at the University of Missouri Law School. I teach antitrust law, business organizations, and contracts. My scholarship focuses on regulatory theory, with a particular emphasis on antitrust.

6 responses to Predictions on Leegin


    Whew. I was getting a tad nervous.

    You win, Keith. 5-4.


    Alas, no fedora consumption today.


    as a former student of Prof. Lambert – I have made travel and lodging arrangements to return to Columbia to see him eat a hat.



    We’ll see. I just can’t imagine that a majority of justices would agree to make VRPM doctrine any more complicated than it already is. Unless there’s a full-on overruling of Dr. Miles, we’ll still have to contend with the complexities created by Colgate (OK if unilateral), Parke-Davis (no cajoling to induce compliance with resale prices), Sylvania (ROR if non-price), Monsanto (must make specific showings to establish agreement to set resale prices), and Business Electronics (must make specific showings to establish that vertical agreement is a price agreement). This body of law is a huge mess with lots of complexities that are required for dealing with a much-needed loophole (Colgate). I really believe the Court will junk the whole thing.

    Pretty fun to speculate, eh?


    The lateness of the hour suggests that the decision will likely be 5-4.

    I think it will come down to how Justice Breyer votes. I predict that he will be in the majority.

    It is highly probably (indeed, virtually certain) that Justice Stevens will vote to keep in place the per se rule against vertical RPM.

    GMUSL '07 Alum 26 June 2007 at 1:28 pm


    I think that this indicates that it may be like how Stevens instituted the “Quick Look” in the opinion he wrote. Stevens, despite his background, somehow managed to avoid the whole law&econ revolution, perhaps because he was purchasing more bowties. Yet I think he’s writing it to salvage what he can — just like (NCAA, IIRC?) where he created quick look out of whole cloth.

    So yeah, I think that it’s going to still be overruled, but Stevens will probably do something similar, and maybe say that this only qualifies for quick look, rather than full-blown rule of reason. The real question is whether he could maintain a majority for that opinion…