It appears confirmation of Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB will be held up because Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is concerned about Sunstein's embrace of certain animal rights arguments. The Hill reports:
Chambliss worries that Sunstein's innovative legal views may someday lead to a farmer having to defend himself in court against a lawsuit filed on behalf of his chickens or pigs.
Chambliss told The Hill that he has blocked Sunstein's nomination because the law professor "has said that animals ought to have the right to sue folks."
Indeed, in his 2004 book, Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, 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."
More specifically, he wrote: "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."
Chambliss said he is also concerned about Sunstein's potential impact on "a number of other issues relative to agriculture."
The story also suggests that Chambliss could lift the hold once he has had the opportunity to speak with Sunstein directly some time after the July 4 recess. Sunstein's nomination has already cleared committee, and I would be surprised if there were a serious effort to prevent his confirmation.