Sunstein, Cass R. 1954-
SUNSTEIN, Cass R. 1954-
PERSONAL: Born September 21, 1954, in Salem, MA; son of C.R. (a builder) and Marian (a teacher) Sunstein; children: Ellen Ruddick-Sunstein. Education: Harvard University, A.B. (magna cum laude), 1975, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1978.
CAREER: Admitted to the Bar of Washington, DC, 1980. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, law clerk to Benjamin Kaplan, 1978–79; Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, DC, law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1979–80; U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, attorney-adviser to Office of Legal Counsel, 1980–81; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, assistant professor, 1981–85, professor of law and political science, 1985–88, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence, 1988–93, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence, 1993–, codirector of Center on Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe, 1990–97. Columbia University, Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law, 1986; Harvard University, visiting professor, 1987, and Tanner Lecturer on Human Values; University of Cincinnati, Marx Lecturer; Georgetown University, Law Day Lecturer; distinguished lecturer at Boston University, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Connecticut; guest lecturer at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad, including College of William and Mary and University of Beijing; visiting scholar at University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, Rutgers University, and George Washington University. Has also served in numerous advisory capacities, including on the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Public Service Obligations of Digital Television, 1997–98; consultant to the Internal Revenue Service project on compliance and social norms, 1999—cochair of the Committee on Regulatory Policy, American Bar Association, Administrative Law Section, 2001–; and member of the Institute of Medicine Committee, Reducing Tobacco Use: Strategies, Barriers, and Consequences, 2004–. Served as a consultant to governments of Ukraine, Romania, Poland, South Africa, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Albania, Israel, and China.
AWARDS, HONORS: American Bar Association Award for best scholarship in administrative law, 1987, for the article "Interest Groups in American Public Law," 1989, for the article "Interpreting Statutes in the Regulatory State," and 1999, for article "Is the Clean Air Act Unconstitutional?," and Certificate of Merit, 1991, for After the Rights Revolution, Goldsmith Book Award, Harvard University, 1994, for Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech; Henderson Prize, Harvard Law Schools, 2002, for Free Markets and Social Justice; Graduate Teaching Award, 2003.
(Coauthor) Constitutional Law, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1986, third edition, 1995.
(Editor) Feminism and Political Theory, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1990.
After the Rights Revolution: Reconceiving the Regulatory State, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1990.
(Editor, with Geoffey R. Stone and Richard A. Epstein) The Bill of Rights and the Modern State, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.
The Partial Constitution, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.
Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, Free Press (New York, NY), 1993, reprinted with new afterword, 1995.
Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.
(Editor, with Martha C. Nussbaum) Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies about Human Cloning, Norton (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Stephen Breyer, Richard B. Stewart, and Matthew Spitzer) Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy, 1998.
(With Stephen Holmes) The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes, Norton (New York, NY), 1999.
One Case at a Time: Judicial Minimalism on the Supreme Court, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.
Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do, Oxford University Press, (New York, NY), 2001.
Republic.com, Princeton University Press, (Princeton, NJ), 2001.
(With Richard A. Epstein) The Vote: Bush, Gore and the Supreme Court, University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), 2001.
The Cost-Benefit State: The Future of Regulatory Protection, American Bar Association (Chicago, IL), 2002.
Risk and Reason: Safety, Law, and the Environment, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2002.
Why Societies Need Dissent, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), 2003.
The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(Editor, with Martha C. Nussbaum) Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to books, including Punitive Damages: How Juries Decide, University of Chicago Press, 2001. Contributor of articles and reviews to law journals, national magazines, and newspapers, including the New Republic. Associate editor, Ethics, 1986–88; contributing editor, American Prospect, 1989–, and New Republic, 1999–. Editorial board member, Studies in American Political Development, 1989–, Journal of Political Philosophy, 1991–, and Constitutional Political Economy, 1991—former editorial board member, Harvard Lampoon. Past executive editor, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Outrage and Retribution, with Daniel Kahneman and David Schkade; a book on "third-way" models of government—models that reject free markets but also reject command-and-control and rigid regulation.
SIDELIGHTS: Cass R. Sunstein is a law professor and prolific author and editor of books concerning the law, particularly the U.S. Constitution. For example, in The Partial Constitution, the author "probes deeply the importance of constitutional interpretation for the quality of political discourse in our democracy," according to Commonweal contributor Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr. Gaffney went on to note that the author "challenges all serious citizens to reflect about the critical connection between the limits that our Constitution places on governmental power and the quality of our own participation in our democracy." In the Yale Law Journal Gregory E. Maggs pointed out that the author discusses the Supreme Court in detail and that he "believes that the Court favors the status quo because it thinks that the status quo is neutral. According to Sunstein, however, this view is wrong." Maggs went on to note that, in his opinion, "the aim of his book … is to relax inhibitions against political actions altering the status quo."
In Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech the author explores the First Amendment and calls for its reassessment and reform. Sunstein recounts the development of First Amendment law and then presents his theories on how First Amendment rights should be construed, such as the idea that there are lower and higher levels of protection for certain types of speech. For example, he believes that advertising has less protection of free speech than political and other forms of speech important to the government and politics. J.M. Balkin, writing in the Yale Law Review, commented that the author "emphasizes that the scope of individual rights should consciously be shaped in order to promote the goals of democratic deliberation."
According to Booklist contributor David Rouse, Sunstein "undogmatically analyzes … the complex relationships between market forces, social justice, liberty, and freedom" in his book Free Markets and Social Justice. The author discusses such ideas as the notion of laissez-faire in the marketplace and explores markets as complex institutions that are integrally related to the social and political morals of the times. Writing in the American Political Science Review, a reviewer commented that the author's "general ap-proach … encourages the supposition that democracy is good in terms of human purposes it serves and that sometimes regulation and restraint is what is required for democracy's defense."
Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies about Human Cloning, which was edited by Sunstein and Martha C. Nussbaum, is a collection of essays, short fiction, and poetry on the topic of cloning. The pieces are separated into the categories of science, commentary, ethics and religion, law and public policy, and fiction and fantasy. "This book establishes a platform from which the general reader may move into specific areas of concern on the controversial subject of cloning," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. In a review in the Hastings Center Report, Mary Midgely called the writings "clear, lively, and thought-provoking."
Sunstein's 1999 book, The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes, written with Stephen Holmes, delves into the idea that individual freedoms and rights do not come free but require government action that, in turn, requires money. "The coauthors challenge liberal, conservative, and libertarian conventional wisdom," noted Mary Carroll in Booklist, "insisting that all rights are positive and can be enforced by government only insofar as citizens pay enough taxes to fund enforcement." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book "interesting and well argued."
In One Case at a Time: Judicial Minimalism on the Supreme Court Sunstein presents his case for supporting the Supreme Court's longtime caution in dealing with constitutional law by focusing on individual cases and largely ignoring larger, fundamental issues of society. Writing in Perspectives on Political Science, Peter Schotten noted that the author "maintains that the Court should rule as narrowly as possible, confining each decision to the immediate case at hand." The reviewer went on to comment that Sunstein argues that "judicial minimalism enhances democracy by allowing the nation's big, controversial issues to be decided by the democratic process." In a review in the Washington Monthly, Abner Mikva wrote that the author's "analysis seems to honor those justices who do the least to rock the boat."
Sunstein takes a look at how the computer-age society gets much of its news online in his book Republic.com. The author argues here that getting their news this way leads people to get one-side news and opinions that generally bolster their own viewpoints. Writing in the Washington Monthly, Paul M. Barrett commented that "Sunstein persuasively warns that the Internet's capacity to serve up only what users order in advance could debilitate the clash of ideas critical to informed self-government."
Sunstein collaborated with Richard A. Epstein to edit a series of essays looking at the role the Supreme Court played in the post-election issues following the 2000 presidential election. In a review of The Vote: Bush, Gore and the Supreme Court Harry Charles noted in the Library Journal that the authors "have done their homework." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that some of the articles show "subtle brilliance."
Sunstein further presents his theories about constitutional government in Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do. "Over a wide body of work, Cass Sunstein has been developing a democracy-based constitutionalism," observed David Estlund in Ethics. "This book revises and extends several of his central ideas and adds several new ones." Estlund went on to note that "the book is rich with observations, ideas, and aspirations." In a review in the American Prospect, Garrett Epps commented that, "at its best," the book is "very good indeed."
Why Societies Need Dissent stresses that dissent is essential to a free and safe society and that conformity is a basic drive that often leads to disaster. "It's a survey of social science research about group conformity, aimed at showing shy the pressures exerted by groups often lead to bad or ill-informed decision making," as Emily Bazelon described it in the Washington Monthly. "As counterpoint, Sunstein demonstrates the value of naysayers." In her review in the Library Journal, Janet Ingraham Dwyer noted that "motivated students and lay readers will gain an understanding of the dynamics underlying conformity and dissent."
The author takes on health, safety, and environmental regulations in his book Risk and Reason: Safety, Law, and the Environment. Arguing that most of these laws are misguided and ineffectual, Sunstein also presents his case that many decisions made concerning these issues are made on an unethical basis. In The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever Sunstein presents his case for the validity of establishing constitutional rights for people in terms of "affirmative rights" that promise basic social and economic rights, such as the right for education, housing, food, and other basics of life. William Forbath, writing in the American Prospect, commented that the book "is part history, part theory, and part survey of social-rights jurisprudence around the globe."
Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America presents Sunstein's case that legal fundamentalists are a threat to many of the rights we now take for granted because of their belief in interpreting the Constitution exactly as it was originally perceived by America's founders. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "enlightening and in some places fascinating." Another reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that the author "trenchantly presents" his arguments.
Sunstein once told CA: "I write first drafts quickly and am willing to rewrite and rewrite. I usually write on legal topics, because I teach law, and usually when there is some problem in existing law that might be solved, or at least made less serious. My co-edited book on cloning was written mostly for fun."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Political Science Review, March, 1998, review of Free Markets and Social Justice, p. 213.
American Prospect, December 17, 2001, Garrett Epps, review of Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do, p. 42; September, 2004, William Forbath, review of The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever, p. 37.
Booklist, February 15, 1997, David Rouse, review of Free Markets and Social Justice, p. 982; March 15, 1999, Mary Carroll, reviews of One Case at a Time: Judicial Minimalism on the Supreme Court and The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes, p. 1264.
Cato Journal, fall, 1999, Tom G. Palmer, review of The Cost of Rights, pp. 331-336.
Columbia Journalism Review, September, 2001, James Boylan, review of Republic.com, p. 79.
Commonweal, April 22, 1994, Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr., review of The Partial Constitution, p. 23.
Ethics, July, 2002, Benjamin R. Barber, review of Republic.com, p. 866; July, 2003, David Estlund, review of Designing Democracy, p. 911; January, 2004, Kristin Shrader-Frechette, review of Risk and Reason: Safety, Law, and the Environment, p. 376.
Hastings Center Report, March, 2000, Mary Midgely, Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies about Human Cloning, p. 41.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2005, review of Radicals In Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America, p. 838.
Law and Social Inquiry, spring, 2004, review of Why Societies Need Dissent, p. 498; winter, 2005, Howard S. Erlanger, review of Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, p. 236.
Library Journal, October 15, 2001, Harry Charles, review of The Vote: Bush, Gore and the Supreme Court, p. 95; September 1, 2003, Ingraham Dwyer, review of Why Societies Need Dissent, p. 193.
National Review, December 13, 2004, Tom G. Palmer, review of The Second Bill of Rights, p. 51.
New Statesman, October 9, 1998, Bryan Appleyard, review of Clones and Clones, p. 45.
New York Times, October 14, 2001, Thomas Carothers, review of Designing Democracy.
New York Times Book Review, September 1, 2002, Scott Veale, review of Republic.com, p. 16.
Nieman Reports, spring, 2002, Katie King, review of Republic.com, p. 83.
Perspectives on Political Science, fall, 1999, Peter Schotten, review of One Case at a Time, p. 221.
Publishers Weekly, July 13, 1998, review of Clones and Clones, p. 70; January 11, 1999, review of The Cost of Rights, p. 58; October 1, 2001, review of The Vote, p. 48; July 25, 2005, review of Radicals in Robes, p. 60.
Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 2003, Dristin Shrader-Frechette, review of Risk and Reason, p. 495.
Society, January-February, 1995, Ellen Frankel Paul, review of Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, p. 84.
Washington Monthly, May, 1999, Abner Mikva, review of One Case at a Time, p. 52; January, 2001, Paul M. Barrett, review of Republic.com, p. 51; September, 2003, Emily Bazelon, review of Why Societies Need Dissent, p. 56.
Yale Law Journal, April, 1994, Gregory E. Maggs, review of The Partial Constitution, pp. 1627-1649; May, 1995, J.M. Balkin, review of Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, pp. 1935-1990.
Cass R. Sunstein Home Page, http://home.uchicago.edu/∼csunstei (September 11, 2005).
Foreign Affairs Online, http://www.foreignaffairs.org/ (March-April, 2002), G. John Ikenberry, review of Designing Democracy.
University of Chicago Law School Web site, http://www.law.uchicago.edu/ (September 10, 2005), faculty profile of Sunstein.