Sunstein to Head OIRA:

The WaPo reports this morning that Cass Sunstein is going to be the OIRA Administrator. This is really terrific news and continues the remarkable tradition of the extraordinarily high talent level that has occupied that position over the past many years (Dudley, Graham, Katzen, etc.).

Given Sunstein's apparently close connections to Obama, this also suggests that President Obama anticipates a muscular role for OIRA in his administration. And the appointment of Susntein presumably also reflects commitment to cost-benefit analysis in regulation, which is exceedingly good news and may provide a brake on some more extravagant regulatory initiatives. Given Sunstein's long record of scholarship on many of these issues, it will be interesting to see how he translates his ideas into practice, especially CBA, behavioral law & economics, and discounting. For now though, the obvious point is congratulations to Cass and Obama both.


Volokh Conspiracy Guest-Blogger Nominated to High Government Office:

Well, OK, his guest-blogging isn't what he's famous for, but allow me to be parochial here, and point to Cass Sunstein's posts from last year. I agree with Todd Zywicki that Sunstein is an excellent choice. Sunstein is brilliant, thoughtful, and ideologically probably as good as libertarianish/conservativish people like me can hope for from the new administration.


Sunstein as Regulatory Czar:

I agree with Todd and Eugene that President-elect Obama has made a good choice to pick Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (and not just because Cass has beena guest blogger). Cass's work on some issues (such as the Supreme Court and judicial nominations) can be frustrating, but his work on regulatory policy and risk is first rate. Agree or not, Cass has been an important thinker and synthesizer of research in this area, and I expect he will help maintain (if not increase) a solid level of analytical rigor at OIRA.

I do wonder, however, whether Sunstein will be the first person to head OIRA who was willing to ask whether OSHA is unconstitutional.


Why the Sunstein Pick is Good For Legal Academics: Like my co-bloggers, I'm delighted that Cass Sunstein has been selected to serve in the Obama Administration. I also wanted to point out that this is terrific news for other legal academics. Cass currently writes about 120 law review articles a year, all of which place in top journals, amounting to about 30% of the total placed articles in those journals. With Cass working full-time in Washington, I'm betting that his scholarly productivity will plummet. He might write as few as 20 articles a year! That means that there will be 100 more non-Cass placements free every year for the next few years for the rest of us, which gives other scholars a great opportunity to place their articles while Cass is working in government.

"Why We Should Welcome Cass Sunstein,"

by Prof. Glenn Reynolds (InstaPundit) in Forbes. "[W]hile Sunstein is politically liberal, he's also open-minded -- someone who isn't dogmatic or intolerant and who gets along well with people of different ideological stripes."