The Rule of Reason Re-Examined

37 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2012

See all articles by Edward D. Cavanagh

Edward D. Cavanagh

St. John's University - School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2012


This article analyzes the application of the Rule of Reason as articulated by Justice Brandeis in Chicago Board of Trade v. United States to alleged restraints of trade in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. It argues that the Brandeis formulation, which requires courts to consider a broad range of economic factors and then weigh procompetitive benefits against anticompetitive effects, has proven unwieldy in the hands of trial judges. Because the Brandeis formulation provides little guidance as to how these factors should be weighed, courts have struggled to develop clear, predictable, and consistent standards under section 1. This article considers several alternatives to the Brandeis formulation and recommends that courts can revitalize the Rule of Reason by using the highly structured approach of the D.C. Circuit in the Three Tenors case to develop antitrust rules that are clear, predictable, and administrable.

Suggested Citation

Cavanagh, Edward D., The Rule of Reason Re-Examined (February 1, 2012). Business Lawyer , Vol. 67, p. 435, February 2012; St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-0012. Available at SSRN:

Edward D. Cavanagh (Contact Author)

St. John's University - School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States

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