Cass Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School. Previously, he served in the Obama Administration as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He also taught at the University of Chicago Law School for 27 years. Though widely viewed as a liberal, Sunstein has taken many moderate positions in line with strict constructivism and supported the nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court.
Sunstein has radical libertarian views on marriage. He has urged that the government should not be in the business of licensing marriages. He recommends civil partnerships, which could be between any two people, whether gay or straight. Sunstein also believes taxpayers should be forced to provide funding for abortion, even if they have religious or moral objections to it.
Sunstein is a favorite of liberals for his desire to ban hunting.
Some of Sunstein's work has addressed the question of animal rights, as he co-authored a book dealing with the subject. Sunstein's views on animal rights generated controversy when Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) blocked his appointment to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Chambliss objected to the introduction of Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, a volume edited by Sunstein and his then-partner Martha Nussbaum. On page 11 of the introduction, during a philosophical discussion about whether animals should be thought of as owned by humans, Sunstein notes that personhood need not be conferred upon an animal in order to grant it various legal protections against abuse or cruelty, even including legal standing for suit. For example, under current law, if someone saw their neighbor beating a dog, the witness cannot sue for animal cruelty because he lacks standing. Sunstein suggests that granting standing to animals, actionable by other parties, could decrease animal cruelty by increasing the likelihood that animal abuse will be punished.
For a more detailed treatment, see Nudge (book).
Sunstein's resignation may have been due to the possibility he would hinder Obama's electability in November, as Sunstein could have been the focus of negative ads by Mitt Romney or the Super PACs that support Romney.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Sunstein was married to Lisa Ruddick, whom he met when both were undergraduates at Harvard. She is Associate Professor of English at the University of Chicago, specializing in British modernism. Later, his partner and co-author was Martha Nussbaum, philosopher, classicist, and professor of law at the University of Chicago.
On July 4, 2008, Sunstein married Samantha Power, professor of public policy at Harvard, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, whom he met when they worked as campaign advisors to Barack Obama, their friend and his former colleague at the University of Chicago Law School.
- Sunstein urges: Abolish marriage, WND
- (2009) Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Penguin. ISBN 978-1101655092.
- 'The Second Bill of Rights': A New New Deal, The New York Times
- Sunstein and Power, Harvard Power Couple, Tie the Knot. The Harvard Crimson (July 7, 2008). Retrieved on April 15, 2017.
- Kantor, Jodi. "Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Slightly Apart", The New York Times, July 30, 2008. Retrieved on April 15, 2017.