The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to take a pass on reviewing


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appeal in the government's antitrust case against the software maker.

In a filing submitted to the court today, the Justice Department argued Microsoft's request that the Supreme Court review the case was faulty because of the company's "mischaracterization of the court of appeals' ruling" in the case. On Aug. 7, Microsoft asked the Supreme Court to review its case and throw out the unanimous ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals June 28.

That ruling upheld a lower court ruling that found Microsoft had illegally maintained its monopoly in personal computer operating systems. The appeals court also removed Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson from the case because he spoke with reporters about the trial before issuing his ruling in the matter.

In the request for a Supreme Court review, Microsoft argued that the appeals court should have thrown out all of Jackson's findings because of his inappropriate conduct in the case. The Justice Department today argued that while the appeals court removed Jackson, it also found no evidence of actual bias in his findings of fact and rulings of law in the case. Therefore, the Justice Department said, the Supreme Court doesn't need to take on Microsoft's request.

Shares of Microsoft were up 46 cents, or 0.8%, at $57.40 in afternoon trading.

Separately, the penalty phase of the case is set to get under way Sept. 21. The newly appointed judge in the case, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, has asked the two sides to come up with a framework on how that phase of the case should proceed by Sept. 14.

Friday's filing is just the latest addendum to Microsoft's antitrust saga. On Thursday, the European Commission

expanded its own antitrust probe against the company.