Several farm groups have raised concerns over President Obama’s candidate for regulation czar, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, because Sunstein has argued that animals should have the right to sue humans in court.
According to a report in The Hill, that sentiment has caused Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to block Sunstein’s confirmation to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an office that has power to review and assess all draft regulations proposed within the Obama Administration.
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. 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.”
For those in agriculture, it might be worth a letter, email, phone call or other contact with your senators and representatives to express your concern about Sunstein, and support of Chambliss' actions.