Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunstein confirmed

I haven't yet seen this mentioned on the scholar-blogs that had covered the nomination up until now: my former colleague Cass Sunstein was confirmed by the Senate yesterday in a 57-40 vote, to serve as White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. According to Politico, the vote was mostly party-line, with just five Republicans voting yes and four Democrats voting no.

The Chronicle notes the following:
Among them, Ilya Somin, an assistant professor of law at George Mason University and a prominent libertarian, wrote on the blog the Volokh Conspiracy that Mr. Sunstein was "well-qualified for the job and is better from a libertarian perspective than most others whom the administration could have appointed." Glenn H. Reynolds, a professor of law at the University of Tennessee who often takes libertarian positions on his blog,, praised Mr. Sunstein as an "open-minded" liberal whose views have at times been misrepresented by his opponents.

In an interview just before Thursday's Senate vote, Mr. Reynolds said the debate over Mr. Sunstein illustrates why it is difficult for many scholars to make the transition from academe to government.

"When you are an academic, you are rewarded for saying interesting things and thought-provoking things, and that is what we do," Mr. Reynolds said. "The reason politicians seldom say interesting or thought-provoking things is because in their business they are punished for it."
It tells you something of significance about the current makeup of the Senate Republican caucus that, when faced with a highly qualified appointee to a very technical post who is supported by many of the intellectual lights of the academic right and opposed by Glenn Beck, they vote no en masse.

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