Let’s start with an important but little c0vered story: Senator Saxby Chambliss (R=GA) has put a “hold” on the nomination of Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein to be what is sometimes called the “regulations czar.” And for a very good reason: Sunstein wants animals to have the right to sue their owners in court. From the story:
Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) has blocked 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. Obama has picked Sunstein, his adviser and longtime friend, to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, an office that has power to review and assess all draft regulations proposed within the administration.
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.” 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.”
As I explain in my forthcoming book, this issue is known as “animal standing,” and it could not be more important–or more alarming that a high Obama appointee believes in it–because if it were ever to be implemented, it could destroy animal industries. That, of course, is the point
The animal standing controversy is rarely discussed outside of animal rights and animal law literature. We’ll soon change that. I will have a more extensive exposition about this most important matter soon.