Your morning jolt: Chambliss balks at Obama nominee who thinks animals might need lawyers

Word comes that U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has put a hold on President Barack Obama’s choice for regulation czar, because the nominee, a Harvard law professor, thinks that every dog should have his day.

In court.

Cass Sunstein, an Obama adviser and friend, would head up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which has the power to assess the impact of regulations proposed by the information.

This from The Hill, a D. C. newspaper:

But 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.”

Chambliss said he won’t lift his hold until he speaks with Sunstein face-to-face, after the July 4 recess. The Hill also reqorts that Chambliss is concerned about remarks Sunstein made in 2007 suggesting that hunting should be banned.

Here’s a longer explanation of Susstein’s views, plucked from a University of Chicago Law School web site:

….[F]or example, a farm is treating horses cruelly and in violation of legal requirements, a suit could be brought, on behalf of those animals, to bring about compliance with the law.

In a sense, this would be a dramatic proposal, because it might well be understood to mean that animals should be allowed to sue in their own name—and whoever the nominal plaintiff, there would be no question that the suit was being brought to protect animals, not human beings.

The very idea might seem absurd. But it is simpler and moreconventional than it appears. Of course any animals would be represented by human beings, just like any other litigant who lacks ordinary (human) competence; for example,the interests of children are protected by prosecutors, and also by trustees and guardians in private litigation brought on children’s behalf.

U.S. Johnny Isakson can breathe easier today. Jason Pye at PeachPundit.com reports that a particular member of Rock 100.5’s “The Regular Guys” has set aside his political ambitions:

Eric Von Haessler will not run for United States Senate against Johnny Isakson in 2010, largely due to regulations that would force him off the air during his campaign. He made it clear to those of us who had been working with him that he isn’t ruling out a run as a Libertarian in the future and he added that he will work on behalf of the party during the upcoming election.

The Macon Telegraph this morning takes up the search for a Republican daring enough to throw himself against U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon) this week.

Writer Travis Fain kills the rumor that state Rep. Austin Scott, a GOP candidate for governor, will be talked into the middle Georgia race. In the same piece, Erick Erickson, head honcho at redstate.org and a Macon city council man, adds this:

Erickson also said that state GOP officials “routinely tell me they hope no one challenges Marshall in 2010 because of the potential Marshall voter turnout hurting the gubernatorial race.”

Republican candidate for governor John Oxendine was in Rome over the weekend. He spoke about the $120,000 sent to his campaign from two insurance companies headed by Dee Yancy of Rome, through 10 political action committees.

This from the News-Tribune:

Although he returned the money, Oxendine said Saturday that he thought there were no problems with the contributions and felt the State Ethics Commission already vindicated him in an advisory opinion.

“The ethics board this Monday issued an opinion that says if you get money from a PAC, or anyone, and on its surface it looks fine and you have no reason to know there’s a problem with it, it’s no problem,” he said. “You can keep it. We got money from a PAC that seemed fine on its surface.”


Gov. Sonny Perdue and Vance Smith
, the new commissioner of the Department of Transportation, have their first photo op together on Tuesday when U.S. Transportation Secretary John Porcari comes down to break ground on a first highway project using federal stimulus funds.

While you ponder the possibilities there, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • U.S. Supreme Court has only days to consider a last-ditch hearing for death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.
  • Perdue’s stimulus plan will be slow to help sagging economy.
  • Gubernatorial donors pinched by recession.
  • A 50-50 formula means strained MARTA can still spend.
  • State doesn’t fund its own law mandating taser training.
  • Atlanta City Council to decide on property tax increase.
  • Unstable mental patients freed by flawed system.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Cynthia Tucker on Mark Sanford’s glass house.
  • Jim Wooten says its not the courts’ job to monitor school system spending.
  • Jim Osterman says: Strippers at age 18? Out of the question!
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • Augusta Chronicle: Education reform is among 89 new laws.
  • Atlanta Unfiltered: DeKalb widens bullying probe; judge bills $20K, or is it $170K?
  • InsiderAdvantage: Matt Towery on the case for Karen Handel.
  • And beyond:

  • NYT: It’s now legal to catch a raindrop in Colorado.
  • WSJ: A new rift opens over the rights of detainees.
  • WP: In S.C., governor’s wife Is “the hero in this story.”
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    One comment Add your comment

    Susie B

    June 30th, 2009
    4:24 pm

    Dear Sen. Chambliss:
    I have discussed the matter of your hold on Cass Sunstein’s nomination with the United Pigs and Chickens of America. Every sow and boar, hen and rooster, represented by the union is concerned that you have committed some terrible atrocity against them to be so afraid of a legal suit led by the swine and poultry brigade. They strongly feel it’s time to come clean. They also think you are out of your mind.
    Respectfully, Chicken Little