Harvard law professor and "regulatory czar" nominee Cass Sunstein appeared before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Sunstein's nomination to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs -- a post for which he would seem ideally suited -- is one of the few Obama nominations to have drawn significant fire from the left (and a few misleading smears from the right).
Although Sunstein is anything-but a proponent of deregulation or laissez-faire, the folks at the Center for Progressive Reform decry his enthusiasm for cost-benefit analysis and centralized regulatory review. They fear his willingness to rely on economic analysis will frustrate new regulatory efforts (while I suspect it will help insulate more agency initiatives from judicial review). Two CPR scholars took to the Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed page this morning to state their case.
Despite CPR's best efforts, there does not appear to be much controversy over the Sunstein nomination in the Senate. Law Dork 2.0 live-blogged the hearing, and the questioning seems to have been quite mild. Both the Chair, Senator Lieberman, and ranking member, Senator Collins, expressed their support, and the critical questions seemed pretty pro forma. At this point I would think Sunstein's confirmation will go forward without a hitch.