Too Soon? DOJ Seeks to End 1911 Standard Oil Breakup, Horseshoe Regulation

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from The Wall Street Journal,

The Justice Department dug deep into its antitrust files for decrees that just may not be pertinent today, like the one resulting from Theodore Roosevelt’s suit against the Rockefellers and the case against price-fixing in ice-cream cones.

The wheels of federal bureaucracy turn—and turn, and turn—but sometimes they stop.

That’s why the Justice Department wants to bring to an end its breakup of Standard Oil Co., which started in 1911, along with its efforts to ensure competition in the markets for horseshoes and player-piano rolls.

After a review of old legal agreements, the DOJ on Tuesday asked the U.S. District Court in St. Louis to terminate the decree that was the ultimate outcome of its case championed by President Theodore Roosevelt against the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey.

Back then, few knew gasoline and cars would so dramatically become the oil industry’s primary purpose, or that America wouldn’t be the world’s only dominant oil supplier, so the case was huge for federal regulators.

“To say it’s been overtaken by events,” said Daniel Yergin, who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil-industry history, “is a vast

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