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Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Sherman Act Award Ceremony


Washington, DC
United States

Thank you, Sharis [Pozen]. I appreciate your kind words – and your outstanding leadership as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. Every day, your work strengthens the protections, and the great progress, that we’ve gathered to celebrate – and, especially during this period of transition, I am deeply grateful for your stewardship, your commitment to fair and aggressive antitrust enforcement, and the many contributions that you and your team continue to make.

It’s an honor to be with you all, and a pleasure to join Sharis in welcoming so many Division leaders – past and present – distinguished guests, and great champions of sound economic policy and strong consumer protection. I would particularly like to thank the U.S. Marine Band, the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, and Shawnee Ball for opening today’s ceremony. And I’d like to recognize Judge [Michael] Boudin– along with Doug Melamed and Tim Muris – for their participation this afternoon. Thank you for taking the time to be join our celebration.

Finally, I’d like to extend a special welcome to today’s guest of honor – one of our nation’s leading experts in the field of antitrust law and one of the most effective advocates ever to stand on the side of American consumers – Jim Rill. Jim, it’s a pleasure to have you – and so many of your family members – back at the Department.

Those of you who’ve had the privilege – and great benefit – of working with Jim know that he is a fearless and tireless advocate for fairness and justice. For decades, he has worked to protect the American people from anticompetitive conduct – and has stood out as an effective and innovative leader in this field. During his tenure here at the Department, where he served as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, he updated and enhanced the handling of antitrust matters, helped to shape sweeping policy guidelines, and negotiated critical international agreements. He served as a mentor – and an excellent role model – for a generation of public interest lawyers, including some of the people in this room. And he helped build the Antitrust Division into the dynamic component it is today.

In 1997, when my predecessor, Attorney General Janet Reno, asked him to Co-Chair the Justice Department’s International Competition Policy Advisory Committee, Jim did not hesitate to answer the call of duty. The recommendations that he helped to develop continue to serve as guideposts. And it’s no exaggeration to say that he, his colleagues, and the partners they brought to the table from around the world helped to usher in a new era of global antitrust enforcement.

But government service is only one of the ways in which Jim has given back – to his country as well as his profession – over the course of his remarkable career. As a past Chairman of the ABA’s Section of Antitrust Law, he lent his considerable experience and expertise to a host of policy questions affecting the entire bar – work he continues today as a member of the Section’s International Task Force. And as an attorney in private practice, he regularly provides counsel to major corporations in both domestic and international matters.

In many ways, Jim’s career has been built on the same commitment that inspired John Sherman’s landmark effort, more than a century ago, to provide legal mechanisms for protecting America’s economic freedom, growth, and opportunity.

A decade before the dawn of the 20th century, Senator Sherman stood before his colleagues in Congress and declared that “Monopolies [are] inconsistent with our form of government. . . . If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life. If we would not submit to an emperor, we should not submit to an autocrat of trade."

Today, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division continues to live up to Senator Sherman's words – and regularly employs the tools and authorities provided under one of our nation’s most important and enduring laws, the Sherman Antitrust Act, to keep the American economy free from the grip of anticompetitive practices and entities.

Now, as much as ever before, we are committed to smart, fair, and aggressive antitrust enforcement across all sectors of our economy. And there are few who understand or appreciate the importance of this work better than today’s awardee.

As an antitrust lawyer, Jim has remained steadfast in his commitment, not to any ideology, but to a basic overriding principle – enshrined in law 122 years ago – of a free but fair American marketplace.

As we carry on this essential work, I know everyone in this room is – and, for more than two decades, has been – proud to call Jim Rill a partner, a friend, and a valued member of the Justice Department family. The American people have been privileged to have him as a strong ally and a fierce advocate. And the legal profession has benefitted immensely from the leadership of a man upon whom the United States will today bestow an honor reserved for those defined by their “substantial contributions to the protection of American consumers and the preservation of economic liberty.”

Jim, on behalf of the Department of Justice, it’s my pleasure to present you with this year’s Sherman Act Award, which – as the inscriptions reads – is: Presented to James F. Rill, in recognition of his significant lifetime contributions to the development and enforcement of antitrust law and the advancement of antitrust policy internationally. With thanks from a grateful nation.


Jim, your example is an inspiration to us all. Your indelible contributions – to this Department, and to our nation – are beyond measure. And your service to the American people has set a standard to which we all should aspire.

Thank you, and congratulations on this well-deserved honor.

Consumer Protection
Updated August 18, 2015