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The nomination of Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein (above) to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has hung up on the question of whether animals have the right to sue other animals, notably of the human kind. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, has blocked Sunstein’s nomination, according to The Hill, “because Sunstein has argued that animals should have the right to sue humans in court.”

Sunstein is a prolific author and a long-time friend of Obama. (Sunstein just recently moved to Harvard from the University of Chicago.) In one of his books, Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions (2004), Sunstein wrote: “I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law….Laws designed to protect animals against cruelty and abuse should be amended or interpreted to give a private cause of action against those who violate them, so as to allow private people to supplement the efforts of public prosecutors.” Sunstein has also suggested, in a speech, that hunting should be banned. 

This has caused all kinds of consternation in the ag community. Cattle Network asks “Who Is Cass Sunstein & Why Should You Care?” hThe Hill reports that Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas has met with Sunstein and was told the nominee would not promote onerous regulations. Chambliss remains to be convinced. “I’m going to talk to him,” Chambliss said. “He has not had the opportunity to look me in the eye.”

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