Obama to Name Lawyer Friend to Top OMB Regulatory Post

By January 8, 2009Economy, Regulations

From today’s Washington Post, “Obama to Name Lawyer Friend To Regulatory Affairs Position“:

President-elect Barack Obama will name Cass R. Sunstein, a close friend and one of the nation’s top constitutional lawyers, to a senior-level post in charge of government regulation, a transition official said.

Sunstein, a Harvard University law professor who grew close to Obama during their years at the University of Chicago, will become the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Obama talked on the campaign trail about the need to revamp the nation’s regulatory structure, especially in housing and finance, areas in which lapses contributed to the current economic crisis.

In his new position, Sunstein will oversee reform of regulations, seeking to find smarter approaches and better results in health, environment and other domestic areas, a transition source said.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs can do good things in imposing discipline and regulatory restraint on the executive branch agencies, examining the costs and unintended consequences that result from excessive rulemaking. For that reason, the Bush OIRA has been the subject of intense, often personalized criticism from the activist crowd who never met a regulation it didn’t like. (See below.)

We don’t know enough about Sunstein (Harvard CV) to offer an informed opinion, although he’s certainly mentioned prominently enough in legal publications and the blogosphere. In any case, we promise not to engage in the kind of smearing that was practiced against Susan Dudley and her predecessors.

Earlier posts (2007)

P.S. Speaking of Susan Dudley, she came to the Bush Administration from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a free-market oriented think thank. Indeed, George Mason University is often seen as an outpost of University of Chicago economics in northern Virginia. So President-elect Obama gives his economic stimulus speech today at GMU. How interesting.

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