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Stopping the Radical Cass Sunstein

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Posted on May 4 2009 4:35 am
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Conservatives have launched a campaign to prevent Cass Sunstein, a radical law professor with a novel understanding of the U.S. Constitution, from becoming regulatory czar.

The American Conservative Union started a website, Stop Sunstein, in an effort to keep the left-winger from heading the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is a division within the president’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

A Time magazine article states that OIRA “examines all proposed federal regulations before they take effect — be they issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — and it has the power to delay or reject the ones it believes will be too costly to impose.”

But since liberal Associate Justice David Souter confirmed last week that he plans to retire from the Supreme Court, Sunstein has also been mentioned as a potential replacement on the high court.

In Sunstein book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More Than Ever, he makes it clear that he is a radical legal theorist who believes the words of the Constitution are virtually meaningless and that America’s great charter ought to be subject to regular reinterpretation. In other words, he believes so-called social justice is more important than the Constitution.

Here are some Sunstein gems:

  • “Much of the time, the United States seems to have embraced a confused and pernicious form of individualism. This approach endorses rights of private property and freedom of contract, and respects political liberty, but claims to distrust ‘government intervention’ and insists that people must fend for themselves. This form of so-called individualism is incoherent, a tangle of confusions.”
    – Cass R. Sunstein, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More Than Ever, Basic Books, New York, 2004, p. 3
  • “A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.”
    –Cass Sunstein, arguing for a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet in his book, Republic.com 2.0, p.137
  • “In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?… Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public fisc. … There is no liberty without dependency. That is why we should celebrate tax day …”
    – Cass R. Sunstein, “Why We Should Celebrate Paying Taxes,” The Chicago Tribune, April 14, 1999
  • “Those who emphasize suffering have a simple answer to this objection: Everything depends on whether and to what extent the animal in question is capable of suffering. If rats are able to suffer, then their interests are relevant to the question of how, and perhaps even whether, they can be expelled from houses.”
    –Cass R. Sunstein, Martha C. Nussbaum. Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions (Oxford University Press, USA, 2004), P. 12
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