April 2, 1991 |
The Supreme Court on Monday gave local government officials broad immunity from antitrust lawsuits, even when they conspire to protect a business monopoly. The 6-3 decision means that excluded competitors cannot use federal antitrust laws to challenge decisions made by a city or county. So long as local officials are exercising a legal power conferred by the state, they are shielded from liability, the court said. The ruling, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, frees the city of Columbia, S.C.