Hip-hop loving Indian American judge to try Google case

Off the bench, Amit Mehta coaches softball; enjoys Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, Eminem’s music.

Hip-hop loving Indian American US district judge Amit P. Mehta is set  to preside over Trump administration’s landmark antitrust lawsuit against search engine giant Google.

In its most aggressive move since its case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago,  the US Justice Department and 11 states have accused Google of weaponizing its dominance in online search and advertising to kill off competition and harm consumers.

Judge Amul Thapar
Judge Amit Mehta

“Two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy startup with an innovative way to search the emerging Internet. That Google is long gone,” the complaint alleged.

Calling the lawsuit “deeply flawed,” Google asserted in a tweet that “People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.”

Gujarat-born Amit Priyavadan Mehta lit up his online fandom when in an epic footnote to a 2015 judgment in a copyright infringement case, he claimed to be no “lay person” when it comes to hip-hop music and lyrics.

“The court has listened to hip-hop for decades and considers among his favourite musical artistes, perhaps as a sign of his age, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, and Eminem,” Mehta wrote.

Appointed by President Barack Obama as a District judge for the District of Columbia in December 2014, he became the first Asia Pacific American judge on what is considered the second highest court in the US after the Supreme Court.

READ: Here are some of the top Indian American judges (July 23, 2020)

Raised in Reisterstown, Maryland, Mehta received his BA degree in 1993 from Georgetown University and a JD in 1997 from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Beginning his career in a San Francisco law firm before clerking in the Ninth Circuit court, Mehta went on to work at the Washington DC-based law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

Focusing on white-collar criminal defense, complex business disputes, and appellate advocacy, he also worked as a public defender in Washington for five years.

Among his more famous cases, Mehta was part of the defense team for former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a sexual assault case filed against him by hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo.

In July 2019, he ruled in favor of pharmaceutical firms, blocking a Trump administration rule that required drug makers to put prices in television ads, mainly to lower the cost of prescription medications.

In another case Mehta ruled that President Donald Trump couldn’t block a subpoena from a House committee seeking financial records from his accounting firm.

The decision enraged Trump, who slammed it as a “crazy” decision by an “Obama appointed judge”.


Newsmaker: Amit Mehta, the Indian American judge who ruled against President Trump (May 24, 2019)

Indian American judge Amit Mehta tells Trump to turn over financial records to Congress (May 20, 2019)

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