The Bush administration’s appointment of a new attorney general has trickled down to the 2-year-old antitrust legal battle brought by the federal government against the National Association of Realtors.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark R. Filip of Chicago, who has presided over the antitrust case related to the Realtor group’s approval of policies for the online sharing and display of property information, has been tapped by the White House and U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to serve as deputy attorney general.
In a court filing this week, U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Holderman, who serves in the Northern District of Illinois, stated that Filip “should not preside over criminal cases or civil cases in which the United States is a party while his nomination is pending,” and ordered that those cases be reassigned to other judges. Filip, 41, if his nomination is approved, would replace Craig Morford, who is serving as acting deputy attorney general.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew F. Kennelly will serve as the new judge for the antitrust case. Laurie Janik, general counsel for the Realtor group, said last week that the association may pursue settlement talks with Justice Department officials at the close of the evidence-gathering phase of the lawsuit.
“If we’re unsuccessful in reaching any type of a satisfactory resolution, the case looks like it will go to trial in about June or July of next year,” Janik said during a meeting at the association’s annual conference in Las Vegas last week.
A status hearing for the United States v. National Association of Realtors lawsuit has been scheduled on Dec. 3.
Mukasey, who took office this month as U.S. attorney general, replaces Alberto R. Gonzales, who resigned on Aug. 27 amid a scandal involving the firing of several U.S. attorneys.
Kennelly, 51, was born in Marion, Ind., in 1956 and was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton as a federal judge on Jan. 26, 1999.