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Update: Senate Approves Nomination of Sunstein for Regulatory Czar

(Thursday, September 10, 2009)

As expected, the U.S. Senate last night approved, 63-35, the nomination of Cass Sunstein to be Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The role, also known as the "Regulatory Czar" is responsible for overseeing regulatory policy throughout the government.

The nomination was approved despite last-minute attempts by Sen. Johnny Isakson to put a hold on the vote. Senators Cornyn and DeMint, who had previously placed a hold on the vote, removed their holds following assurances from Sunstein that he would not seek to implement his personal views while overseeing the regulatory process.

Sunstein’s nomination has been solidly supported by the Senate majority Democrats despite concerns expressed by hunters, animal groups and farmers about some of Sunstein’s writings that advocated that state animal cruelty laws should be applied to hunting and livestock, and that organizations should be able to sue in court on behalf of animals.

While this office has traditionally had little impact on the dog owning community, the AKC Government Relations Department will work monitor new regulations and inform dog owners of any new policies being considered or implemented.


AKC Troubled by Nomination of Sunstein for Regulatory Czar
[Friday, July 31, 2009]

The American Kennel Club is deeply concerned about President Obama’s nomination of Cass Sunstein as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The administrator, known as the "Regulatory Czar", oversees regulations throughout the government, and is believed to play a prominent role in President Obama’s administration. While Mr. Sunstein is a noted legal scholar in the fields of constitutional, administrative, and environmental law, the AKC is deeply concerned by Mr. Sunstein’s academic writings that advocate for animal rights.

Animal rights is a phrase that represents a radical viewpoint. The movement promotes the idea that there is no difference between humans and animals, and that people should not use animals for any purpose. In addition to seeking to outlaw the breeding of purebred dogs and all dog sports, the movement also seeks to stop hunting and horse racing, close zoos and marine parks, prohibit the raising of livestock for food, bring to an end to medical research, and do away with animals as pets. In addition to other radical positions, Mr. Sunstein’s writings have advocated for an outright ban on hunting and promoted an animal’s right to sue humans and human institutions.

In stark contrast to animal rights, animal welfare is people’s responsibility to ensure the well-being of animals. Those responsibilities include housing, medical care, and humane handling. People who support the ideals of animal welfare want animals to be treated well, and believe that it is OK for humans to interact with animals in a variety of settings. Animal welfare advocates believe that animal sports, like dog shows and field trials, should be controlled by the people who participate with their animals in them. Further, when people own animals, they are ethically responsible for providing them with kind and humane care and conditions. The American Kennel Club is a strong proponent of animal welfare policies.

While any Regulatory Czar is not likely to have a direct affect on dog law, the AKC believes that Mr. Sunstein’s probable confirmation is of great concern. Currently, two Senators–Jim DeMint of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas–have placed "holds" on Mr. Sunstein’s nomination. A nomination cannot move forward during Congress’ regular session while a hold is in effect. The American Kennel Club is grateful to Senators DeMint and Cornyn for placing holds on Mr. Sunstein’s nomination. AKC’s Government Relations Department, in consultation with our federal legislative consultants in Washington, D.C., continues to carefully monitor the situation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Concerned responsible dog breeders and owners are encouraged to contact Senators DeMint and Cornyn and express their appreciation to the Senators for placing holds on Mr. Sunstein’s nomination.

    Senator Jim DeMint
    340 Russell
    United State Senate
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-6121
    Fax: (202) 228-5143
    Click here to e-mail Senator DeMint.

    Senator John Cornyn
    517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-2934
    Fax: (202) 228-2856
    Click here to e-mail Senator Cornyn.

  • Concerned individuals may also respectfully contact their United States Senator, letting them know that you oppose the nomination of Mr. Sunstein. To find your United States Senator, click here and select your state from the upper right side of the page, then click "Go".

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.