FTC v. Jantzen: Blessing, Disaster, or Tempest in a Teapot?

The court concluded that the Finality Act, by repealing the existing provisions for judicial enforcement proceedings in the courts of appeals, deprived it of jurisdiction to act upon the FTC’s petition. It also approved earlier decisions holding that the Finality Act procedures were not applicable to orders issued prior to the act’s effective date. These two rulings, in combination, indicate that there is no enforcement machinery now applicable to orders issued under the Clayton Act prior to July 23, 1959.

The question remains, however, whether enforcement of the Clayton Act has really been hampered, and, if so, whether the pre- 1959 orders are of sufficient import to warrant seeking judicial reversal or legislative relief. The Commission is clearly of the belief that it has suffered a major setback. The court, on the other hand, felt that the violations which the Commission had to prove under the old procedure to obtain an enforcement order can now be used as the basis for entry by the Commission of a new order which will be automatically final and subject to immediate sanction. An analysis of the “old” and “new” procedures suggests that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.