The Antitrust Legacy of Thurman Arnold

30 Pages Posted: 25 May 2006

See all articles by Spencer Weber Waller

Spencer Weber Waller

Loyola University Chicago School of Law


No one will ever know exactly why Franklin Roosevelt hired Thurman Arnold as head of the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department in 1938. It may simply have been that head of the Antitrust Division was the first important administration job available when Arnold's supporters and friends sought a full-time Washington position for him. While the nomination proved to be an awkward and controversial choice, it was also an inspired choice. For the next five years, Thurman Arnold revitalized antitrust law and enforcement and changed the entire focus of the New Deal from corporatist planning to competition as the fundamental economic policy of the Roosevelt administration. Those who favor a consumer-friendly competitive economy owe him a debt that transcends the specific cases he brought and the doctrines he espoused. This Article is a look at that legacy.

Keywords: Antitrust, Thurman Arnold, Legal History, Legal Realism

JEL Classification: K21, K42

Suggested Citation

Waller, Spencer Weber, The Antitrust Legacy of Thurman Arnold. St. John's Law Review, Vol. 78, No. 3, pp. 569-613, Summer 2004, Available at SSRN:

Spencer Weber Waller (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

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