Cass Sunstein: A Regulator With Promise – Really

By September 9, 2009Regulations

The Wall Street Journal, a consistently sharp critic of the Obama Administration, had this to say about Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s nominee to be head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the OMB.

We still don’t know much about how Barack Obama plans to overhaul our financial regulatory system, but his reported appointment of Cass Sunstein to an important post is a promising sign.

Mr. Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School, is no conservative — far from it. But his writings on regulation and the herd mentality deserve a voice in the incoming Administration. From his new post as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs inside the White House, he would have an opportunity to put into practice some of the ideas he has written about as an academic.

That was from a Jan. 10 editorial, “A Regulator With Promise — Really.” We were reminded of the editorial by a good piece today in the online Washington Independent by Dave Weigel, “Attacks on Sunstein Frustrate Conservative Fans.” Weigel reports:

Ilya Somin, a libertarian law professor at George Mason University, has written at the popular Volokh Conspiracy lawblog that “the czar system does circumvent the regular appointment and confirmation process.” Like Morrissey and Reynolds, he was critical of Beck and other Sunstein critics.

“Sunstein has nothing to do with the ‘czars’ or the problems with the ‘czars,’” said Somin. “The ironic thing is that anybody else who might be appointed to this job would be less qualified, and more liberal. I disagree with what Sunstein writes in ‘Nudge.’ But what he advocates is not as bad as the views likely to be held by other people who could run [the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs].”

Senate Majority Leader Reid submitted a cloture motion before the Senate adjourned in August, and the Senate could vote on cloture today after the tourism bill debate. We posted on Sunstein’s many merits yesterday, arguing that the attacks against him are indiscriminate and off-base.

More from Glenn Reynolds, as well as Dave Kopel at the Volokh Conspiracy, who writes on Sunstein and the Seconde Amendment and comments, “I echo Ilya’s point ….that Sunstein has a much more pro-liberty perspective than anyone else that Obama might nominate to run the Office of Information and Regulatory Policy.”

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