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SUPREME COURT The Supreme Court has tossed out a lawsuit that accused two oil companies of inflating gasoline prices by at least a (b) billion dollars.

Justices unanimously ruled gas distributors didn’t prove ChevronTexaco and Shell violated antitrust laws. The joint venture started in 1998 and ended four years ago.
In the court’s decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the companies had a legal partnership. And he said the joint venture’s pricing decisions don’t “fall within the narrow category of activity” that’s illegal.
Distributors filed a class-action lawsuit in California accusing the oil companies of using the partnership to fix gasoline prices. The suit said the move broke antitrust provisions of the Sherman Act.


  1. I miss the Sherman (and, really, the Clayton) Anti-Trust acts that, y’know, held companies accountable for violating the rules of basic capitalism…

  2. They’re still on the books. I took a class on antitrust law, and came away with the following:

    1) Lowering prices is unfair competition, except when it isn’t.
    2) Raising prices is price-gouging, except when it isn’t.
    3) Keeping prices in line with everyone else is price-fixing, except when it isn’t.
    4) Sometimes we’ll use a per se rule, sometimes we’ll use a rule of reason.

    Is it any surprise I ended up with a C+ in that class? I simply did not comprehend it the least bit.

  3. Darren

    Ok, fellas, everybody calm down. Until any of y’all are sufficiently versed in the minutiae of the Sherman Act to speak intelligently as to the merits of the USSC’s decision, perhaps you shouldn’t say that a decision is bad or wrong because you generally don’t like the prevailing party.

  4. Well, there was a time period long ago when I *did* understand the minutuae of the Sherman/Clayton Acts, but that time is past. I’m kinda going on gut instinct, but what Neil says is pretty dead on. They’re very subjective laws typically interpreted in a very partisan manner.

    It’s good advice, Darren, but can someone explain to me why we should give ChevronTexaco and Shell the benefit of the doubt when they’re gouging us silly?

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