United States v. Borden Company (370 U.S. 460)/Dissent Harlan

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United States Supreme Court

370 U.S. 460

UNITED STATES, Appellant,  v.  The BORDEN COMPANY et al.

 Argued: April 24 and 25, 1962. --- Decided: June 25, 1962

Mr. Justice HARLAN, dissenting.

The Court treats this case as if the District Court had introduced novel and disruptive principles into the law of 'cost justification' under § 2(a) of the Clayton Act.

Although I consider the respective cost studies much more adequate than the Court credits them with being, it is sufficient to say that, as I read the opinion below, the District Court judged their over-all adequacy in accordance with accepted principles of law in this field. The lower court indeed carefully refrained from giving unqualified approval to either set of cost studies, in substance merely holding (1) that the studies had been conscientiously prepared and prima facie appeared to justify generally the price discriminations arising from the appellees' discount practices (and more particularly to justify those specifically relied on by the Government as 'trial' samples); and (2) that, in light of the long-drawn-out history of this litigation, the appropriate disposition was to deny injunctive relief, allowing the Government to bring to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission any other specific price differentials which it believed not justifiable under these or other cost studies.

This seems to me an eminently sensible and fair disposition of this stale litigation which has now been in the courts for nearly 12 years. I can see no point whatever in this Court sending the case back to the District Court for what will presumably amount to a third trial, especially when it is apparent that drastic changes in the situation complained of by the Government have taken place since 1955.

Had what the record now reveals been fully appreciated at the time the Jurisdictional Statement was considered a summary disposition of the case would have been called for. [*]

I would affirm.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).