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Senate Confirms Harvard Professor to Oversee Regulatory Affairs

Bloomberg News
Cass Sunstein won Senate confirmation Thursday as President Obama's director of regulatory affairs, taking on the role of chief arbiter of debates on whether federal regulations are worth the cost.

The Senate approved Sunstein's nomination by a vote of 57 to 40.

The choice of Sunstein, a Harvard Law School professor and friend of Obama's, concerned some environmentalists because of his support for cost-benefit analysis -- a system of weighing the cost of proposed rules against the benefits to health and safety.

"We hope that he won't be an impediment, based on his past emphasis on cost-benefit analysis to the exclusion of other values," said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a Washington-based environmental group. "We hope he will look at other values, such as protecting the environment."

Former President George W. Bush's appointees to the regulatory office supported cost-benefit analysis, as did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business lobbying organization.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said that Sunstein's writings are "outside the mainstream" and suggest that he supports giving animals lawyers to defend their rights, as well as public policies that value younger people over senior citizens.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) said during the Senate debate that Sunstein would "be fair, and not anti-business," and is "extraordinarily well-qualified for this position."

Posted at 4:19 PM ET on Sep 10, 2009  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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Days after the release of hidden-camera videos led to the firing of four ACORN workers in Baltimore and Washington who assisted an independent filmmaker posing as a pimp to apply for an illegal housing loan for a brothel, a third video has surfaced showing ACORN workers offering the same kind of assistance at the organization's office in Brooklyn, N.Y.

As in their previous undercover stings, filmmaker James O'Keefe, 25, and partner Hannah Giles, 20, who posed as a prostitute, received advice from ACORN workers on how to launder their earnings and avoid detection from law enforcement officials while running a prostitution business.

"You have to find another name for it," an ACORN employee tells the pair seeking a mortgage in the Brooklyn office. "Honesty is not going to get you the house. You can't say what you do for a living."

Posted by: lucygirl1 | September 14, 2009 10:38 AM

Sunstein is a careerist hypocrite and huckster. But he's a successful one, which this confirmation makes obvious.

Sunstein is an enemy of the Constitution, and not just over the Second Amendment. He wants to convene a constitutional convention in order to abolish the Senate and the electoral college. I think he would even prefer a European-style parliament. In Sunstein's writings, federalism, as embodied by the Senate and states rights, is anathema. That is, until it benefits one of his pet causes, like gay marriage. Then, he's suddenly a big fan of federalism.

And this weasel is to be the regulatory czar? The appointment smacks of patronage. I think Obama is just rewarding a crony.

Posted by: lbjack | September 14, 2009 1:04 AM

I'm going to convert my law practice to Animal Rights. I am just tired of chasing medical malpractice cases. Sure there's lots of money in nuisance suits and I don't even have to go to court; but, animals are something I can sink my teeth into. I'm sure Cass will be able to fund me with a government grant for around $1 billion since I will take this world wide. I will represent the bulls in Mexico and Spain who have been tortured and killed in the ring. Wrongful death suits will make me famous. Next I'll have my people survey the deer processing plants during hunting season and bring cases against people who hunt. Just think I owe my new career to the U.S. Senate who confirmed Cass Sunstein who loves animals and hates people and they never suspected a thing.

Posted by: Callie1 | September 13, 2009 12:21 AM

I wonder how many brothels ACORN and HUD financed. I wonder how many crack houses were financed. These ACORN people should go to federal prison for conspiring to help people cheat the IRS. Or they could just claim the RANGLE RULE and run for public office and get a nice committee post with the Democrats.

Posted by: Callie1 | September 13, 2009 12:06 AM

Republicans have been holding up all the people President Obama has chosen like dirty rotten little children that they are. Our President is going to get fed up with obstructionist republicans who allowed the most unqualified people to head departments for Bush. They were usually the biggest donors with no qualifications that got the important jobs. I am not worried about President Obama's choices. They will be qualified and deserving.

Posted by: equalon | September 12, 2009 11:43 PM

I love reading the ridiculous comments that are not relevant to the current article, it really makes the point that you are making seem absurd. I rather enjoyed some of Cass Sunstein's writings, his idea that the equal protection clause should be used to reinforce a woman's right to choose, is both well thought out and rather intriguing.

Posted by: Benadork | September 11, 2009 6:02 PM

This just in. In the spirit of fair play during this falls hunting season, the animals will be armed and the crackers will run like the dickens to escape.

I support the right to arm bears!

Posted by: NotBubba | September 11, 2009 1:58 PM

Wow, after seeing the YT link to the Beck segment...I am really miffed at the Post. Beck isn't accusing Sargent of a single thing, but laying out what the guy actually said, about getting art out on topics of the environment, health care, and education.
That's not art, but deliberate government propaganda. That's hijacking NEA for completely blatant political means. If you numbskulls at the Post can't figure it out, well, NO WONDER you didn't play a role in Sargent's dismissal and are therefore compounding your increasing irrelevance and decreasing viability. Think about that.

Posted by: daskinner | September 11, 2009 12:47 PM

Saw the ACORN video. Everyone should. This organization is backed by Obama who courted their help during the election. I don't know if they are still being considered as part of census. I know there
was a discussion about that going on.

Maybe this country will wake up....

Posted by: njtou | September 11, 2009 9:44 AM

I heard Sunstein give an hour long lecture to UC alums here in NYC last fall. He is smart, thoughtful, original thinker - a pragmatist who tries to improve the way systems work incrementally. Or so it seems. Indeed, I think the faculty Obama was exposed to at UC law remains a remarkable mix of pragmatic thinkers, pretty free of doctrine. He's got a big job ahead!

Posted by: RHouck | September 11, 2009 9:36 AM

WELL I HOPE ALL OBAMA VOTERS WILL LOVE THIS GUY. NO MEAT OR DAIRY IN SCHOOLS. NO HUNTING. NO 2ND AMENDMENT, AND PROBABLY ALOT MORE, CAUSE THESE PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO KNOW WE HAVE A CONSTITUTION.
WE ARE ALREADY SAVING MINNOWS IN CALIF. AND THE FARMERS CAN'T GET WATER, THAT'S OK, WE DON'T NEED MEAT, WE DON'T NEED GRAIN, THE GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING.

Posted by: casie1 | September 10, 2009 8:32 PM

OBAMA Loves A.C.O.R.N.!?!?!?! Gave ACORN Billions of Dollars, wants ACORN to be apart of the 2010 U.S. Census?!?! (NOTE: You may have to Copy & Paste the Links into your browser as the Post Does NOT allow Active Links in Comments on all Articles) WATCH THESE VIDEOS!!! PART I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtTnizEnC1U PART II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNYU9PamIZk

Posted by: Suffer | September 10, 2009 5:53 PM

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