Cass Sunstein

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Cass Sunstein
Cass Sunstein (2008).jpg
Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
In office
September 10, 2009 August 21, 2012
President Barack Obama
Preceded byKevin Neyland (Acting)
Succeeded by Boris Bershteyn (Acting)
Personal details
Cass Robert Sunstein

(1954-09-21) September 21, 1954 (age 64)
Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Lisa Ruddick (divorced)
Samantha Power (2008–present)
Education Harvard University (BA, JD)

Cass Robert Sunstein [1] FBA (born September 21, 1954) is an American legal scholar, particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and law and behavioral economics, who was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012. [2] For 27 years, Sunstein taught at the University of Chicago Law School. [3] Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor [4] at Harvard Law School.

Fellow of the British Academy award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship:

  1. Fellows, for scholars resident in the United Kingdom
  2. Corresponding Fellows, for scholars not resident in the UK
  3. Honorary Fellows, an honorary academic title
Law System of rules and guidelines, generally backed by governmental authority

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

Constitutional law body of law

Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the parliament or legislature, and the judiciary; as well as the basic rights of citizens and, in federal countries such as the United States and Canada, the relationship between the central government and state, provincial, or territorial governments.


Studies of legal publications between 2009 and 2013 found Sunstein to be the most frequently cited American legal scholar by a wide margin, followed by Erwin Chemerinsky and Richard Epstein. [5] [6]

Erwin Chemerinsky an American dean, professor, lawyer, and author

Erwin Chemerinsky is an American lawyer and scholar known for his studies in United States constitutional law and federal civil procedure. He served as the founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law from 2008 to 2017, and is currently the dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

Richard Epstein American legal scholar

Richard Allen Epstein is an American legal scholar known for his writings on subjects such as torts, contracts, property rights, law and economics, classical liberalism, and libertarianism. Epstein is currently the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and director of the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.

Early life and education

Sunstein was born on September 21, 1954 in Waban, Massachusetts to Marian (née Goodrich), a teacher, and Cass Richard Sunstein, a builder, both Jewish. [1] [7] [8] He graduated in 1972 from Middlesex School and in 1975 with a B.A. from Harvard College, where he was a member of the varsity squash team and the Harvard Lampoon . In 1978, Sunstein received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and part of a winning team of the Ames Moot Court Competition. He served as a law clerk first for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (1978–1979) and later for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court (1979–1980). [9]

Concord, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. The town center is near where the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers forms the Concord River.

Middlesex School

Middlesex School is a coeducational, non-sectarian, day and boarding independent secondary school for grades 9-12 located in Concord, Massachusetts. It was founded as an all-boys school in 1901 by a Roxbury Latin School alumnus, Frederick Winsor, who headed the school until 1937. Middlesex began admitting girls in 1974. The school is a member of the prestigious Independent School League and is one of five schools collectively known as St. Grottlesex.

Harvard College main undergraduate school of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard College is the undergraduate liberal arts college of Harvard University. Founded in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world.


Sunstein joined the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department as an attorney-advisor (1980–1981) and then took a job as an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School (1981–1983), where he also became an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science (1983–1985). In 1985, Sunstein was made a full professor of both political science and law; in 1988, he was named the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence in the Law School and Department of Political Science. The university honored him in 1993 with its "distinguished service" accolade, permanently changing his title to Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence in the Law School and Department of Political Science.

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is an office in the United States Department of Justice that assists the Attorney General's position as legal adviser to the President and all executive branch agencies.

University of Chicago Law School law school

The University of Chicago Law School is a professional graduate school of the University of Chicago. It employs more than 200 full-time and part-time faculty and hosts more than 600 students in its Juris Doctor program, while also offering the Master of Laws, Master of Studies in Law and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees in law. It is consistently ranked among the top law schools in the world, and has produced many distinguished alumni in the judiciary, academia, government, politics and business.

Sunstein was the Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School in the fall of 1986 and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School in the spring 1987, winter 2005, and spring 2007 terms. He teaches courses in constitutional law, administrative law, and environmental law, as well as the required first-year course "Elements of the Law", which is an introduction to legal reasoning, legal theory, and the interdisciplinary study of law, including law and economics. In the fall of 2008, he joined the faculty of Harvard Law School and began serving as the director of its Program on Risk Regulation: [10]

Columbia Law School law school

Columbia Law School is a professional graduate school of Columbia University, a member of the Ivy League. It has always been ranked in the top five law schools in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. Columbia is especially well known for its strength in corporate law and its placement power in the nation's elite law firms.

Harvard Law School law school in Cambridge

Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1817, it is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. It is ranked first in the world by the QS World University Rankings and the ARWU Shanghai Ranking.

United States constitutional law is the body of law governing the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution.

The Program on Risk Regulation will focus on how law and policy deal with the central hazards of the 21st century. Anticipated areas of study include terrorism, climate change, occupational safety, infectious diseases, natural disasters, and other low-probability, high-consequence events. Sunstein plans to rely on significant student involvement in the work of this new program. [10]

On January 7, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sunstein would be named to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). [11] That news generated controversy among progressive legal scholars [12] and environmentalists. [13] Sunstein's confirmation was long blocked because of controversy over allegations about his political and academic views. On September 9, 2009, the Senate voted for cloture [14] on Sunstein's nomination as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The motion passed in a 63–35 vote. The Senate confirmed Sunstein on September 10, 2009 in a 57–40 vote.

In his research on risk regulation, Sunstein is known for developing, together with Timur Kuran, the concept of availability cascades, wherein popular discussion of an idea is self-feeding and causes individuals to over weigh its importance.

Sunstein's books include After the Rights Revolution (1990), The Partial Constitution (1993), Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech (1993), Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict (1996), Free Markets and Social Justice (1997), One Case at a Time (1999), Risk and Reason (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America (2005), Are Judges Political? An Empirical Analysis of the Federal Judiciary (2005), Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge (2006), and, co-authored with Richard Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008).

Sunstein's 2006 book, Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge, explores methods for aggregating information; it contains discussions of prediction markets, open-source software, and wikis. Sunstein's 2004 book, The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever, advocates the Second Bill of Rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Among these rights are a right to an education, a right to a home, a right to health care, and a right to protection against monopolies; Sunstein argues that the Second Bill of Rights has had a large international impact and should be revived in the United States. His 2001 book,, argued that the Internet may weaken democracy because it allows citizens to isolate themselves within groups that share their own views and experiences, and thus cut themselves off from any information that might challenge their beliefs, a phenomenon known as cyberbalkanization. He recanted many of the views expressed in the book before his confirmation as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in order to receive Senate confirmation.[ citation needed ] Asked by Rudy Takala if Sunstein's views nonetheless persisted in the Obama administration, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Michael O'Rielly eluded the question, answering, "Everybody needs a nudge, right?" [15]

Sunstein co-authored Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008) with economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago. Nudge discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives. Thaler and Sunstein argue that

People often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement! We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, happiness, and even the planet itself.[ citation needed ]

The ideas in the book proved popular with politicians such as U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the British Conservative Party in general. [16] [17] [18] The "Nudge" idea has also been criticised. Dr Tammy Boyce, from public health foundation The King's Fund, has said:

We need to move away from short-term, politically motivated initiatives such as the 'nudging people' idea, which are not based on any good evidence and don't help people make long-term behavior changes. [19]

Contributing to the anthology Our American Story (2019), Sunstein addressed the possibility of a shared American narrative. He cited the concepts of self-government and equal dignity of human beings, but focused in particular on stories: "an emphasis on what happened before and after the firing shots in Concord and the courageous response of the embattled farmers maintains continuity with the historical facts and offers us something on which we can build." [20]

Sunstein is a contributing editor to The New Republic and The American Prospect and is a frequent witness before congressional committees. He played an active role in opposing the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

In recent years, Sunstein has been a guest writer on The Volokh Conspiracy blog as well as the blogs of law professors Lawrence Lessig (Harvard) and Jack Balkin (Yale). He is considered so prolific a writer that in 2007, an article in the legal publication The Green Bag coined the concept of a "Sunstein number" reflecting degrees of separation between various legal authors and Sunstein, paralleling the Erdős numbers sometimes assigned to mathematician authors. [21]

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1992) and the American Law Institute (since 1990). He received an Honorary Doctorate from Copenhagen Business School. [22]


Sunstein is a proponent of judicial minimalism, arguing that judges should focus primarily on deciding the case at hand, and avoid making sweeping changes to the law or decisions that have broad-reaching effects. Some view him as liberal, [23] despite Sunstein's public support for George W. Bush's judicial nominees Michael W. McConnell and John G. Roberts, [24] as well as providing strongly maintained theoretical support for the death penalty. [25]

Much of his work also brings behavioral economics to bear on law, suggesting that the "rational actor" model will sometimes produce an inadequate understanding of how people will respond to legal intervention.

Sunstein has collaborated with academics who have training in behavioral economics, most notably Daniel Kahneman, Richard Thaler, and Christine M. Jolls, to show how the theoretical assumptions of law and economics should be modified by new empirical findings about how people actually behave. [ citation needed ]

According to Sunstein, the interpretation of federal law should be made not by judges but by the beliefs and commitments of the U.S. president and those around him. "There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him," argued Sunstein. [26]

Sunstein (along with his coauthor Richard Thaler) has elaborated the theory of libertarian paternalism. In arguing for this theory, he counsels thinkers/academics/politicians to embrace the findings of behavioral economics as applied to law, maintaining freedom of choice while also steering people's decisions in directions that will make their lives go better. With Thaler, he coined the term "choice architect." [27]

Military commissions

In 2002, at the height of controversy over Bush's creation of military commissions without Congressional approval, Sunstein stepped forward to insist, "Under existing law, President George W. Bush has the legal authority to use military commissions" and that "President Bush's choice stands on firm legal ground." Sunstein scorned as "ludicrous" an argument from law professor George P. Fletcher, who believed that the Supreme Court would find Bush's military commissions without any legal basis. [28] But the Supreme Court did indeed find the tribunals illegal in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006.

First Amendment

In his book Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech Sunstein says there is a need to reformulate First Amendment law. He thinks that the current formulation, based on Justice Holmes' conception of free speech as a marketplace "disserves the aspirations of those who wrote America's founding document." [29] The purpose of this reformulation would be to "reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views." [30] He is concerned by the present "situation in which like-minded people speak or listen mostly to one another," [31] and thinks that in "light of astonishing economic and technological changes, we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals." [32] He proposes a "New Deal for speech [that] would draw on Justice Brandeis' insistence on the role of free speech in promoting political deliberation and citizenship." [30]

Animal rights

Some of Sunstein's work has addressed the question of animal rights, as he co-authored a book dealing with the subject, has written papers on it, and was an invited speaker at "Facing Animals," an event at Harvard University described as "a groundbreaking panel on animals in ethics and the law." [33] "Every reasonable person believes in animal rights," he says, continuing that "we might conclude that certain practices cannot be defended and should not be allowed to continue, if, in practice, mere regulation will inevitably be insufficient – and if, in practice, mere regulation will ensure that the level of animal suffering will remain very high." [34]

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 by Obama. Chambliss objected to the introduction of Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions , a volume edited by Sunstein and his then-companion 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, they cannot sue for animal cruelty because they do not have legal standing to do so. 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.


Sunstein has argued, "We should celebrate tax day." [35] Sunstein argues that since government (in the form of police, fire departments, insured banks, and courts) protects and preserves property and liberty, individuals should happily finance it with their tax dollars:

In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully 'ours'? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live? Without taxes, there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public… There is no liberty without dependency. [35]

Sunstein goes on to say:

If government could not intervene effectively, none of the individual rights to which Americans have become accustomed could be reliably protected. [...] This is why the overused distinction between "negative" and "positive" rights makes little sense. Rights to private property, freedom of speech, immunity from police abuse, contractual liberty and free exercise of religion – just as much as rights to Social Security, Medicare and food stamps – are taxpayer-funded and government-managed social services designed to improve collective and individual well-being. [35]


In Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Sunstein proposes that government recognition of marriage be discontinued. "Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government," argues Sunstein. He continues, "the only legal status states would confer on couples would be a civil union, which would be a domestic partnership agreement between any two people." He goes on further, "Governments would not be asked to endorse any particular relationships by conferring on them the term marriage," and refers to state-recognized marriage as an "official license scheme." [27] Sunstein addressed the Senate on 11 July 1996 advising against the Defense of Marriage Act. [36]

"Conspiracy Theories" and government infiltration

Sunstein co-authored a 2008 paper with Adrian Vermeule, titled "Conspiracy Theories," dealing with the risks and possible government responses to conspiracy theories resulting from "cascades" of faulty information within groups that may ultimately lead to violence. In this article they wrote, "The existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories, we suggest, is no trivial matter, posing real risks to the government's antiterrorism policies, whatever the latter may be." They go on to propose that, "the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups", [37] where they suggest, among other tactics, "Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action." [37] They refer, several times, to groups that promote the view that the US Government was responsible or complicit in the September 11 attacks as "extremist groups."

The authors declare that there are five hypothetical responses a government can take toward conspiracy theories: "We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help." However, the authors advocate that each "instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5)."

Sunstein and Vermeule also analyze the practice of recruiting "nongovernmental officials"; they suggest that "government can supply these independent experts with information and perhaps prod them into action from behind the scenes," further warning that "too close a connection will be self-defeating if it is exposed." [37] Sunstein and Vermeule argue that the practice of enlisting non-government officials, "might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts." This position has been criticized by some commentators [38] [39] who argue that it would violate prohibitions on government propaganda aimed at domestic citizens. [40] Sunstein and Vermeule's proposed infiltrations have also been met by sharply critical scholarly critiques. [41] [42] [43] [44]

Personal life

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Sunstein was married to Lisa Ruddick, whom he met when both were undergraduates at Harvard. [45] She is Associate Professor of English at the University of Chicago, specializing in British modernism. [46] Their marriage ended in divorce. Thereafter, Sunstein lived with Martha Nussbaum for almost a decade. [47] Nussbaum is a philosopher, classicist, and professor of law at the University of Chicago. [48]

On July 4, 2008, Sunstein married Samantha Power, professor of public policy at Harvard, and former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, whom he met when they both worked as campaign advisors to Barack Obama. [49] The wedding took place in the Church of Mary Immaculate, in Loher Ireland. [50] They have two children: a son, Declan Power Sunstein (April 24, 2009). [51] and a daughter, Rían Power Sunstein (June 1, 2012).

Sunstein is an avid squash player who has played professionally [52] and in 2017 was ranked 449th in the world by the Professional Squash Association. [53]


In July 2017, Sunstein was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences. [54]

In 2018 he was awarded the Holberg Prize for having "reshaped our understanding of the relationship between the modern regulatory state and constitutional law. He is widely regarded as the leading scholar of administrative law in the U.S., and he is by far the most cited legal scholar in the United States and probably the world." [55]





Translation: Sunstein, Cass R. (2006). Riesgo y razón. Seguridad, ley y medioambiente (in Spanish). Buenos Aires Madrid: Katz Editores. ISBN   9788460983507.
Translation: Sunstein, Cass R. (2009). Leyes de miedo: Más allá del principio de precaución (in Spanish). Buenos Aires Madrid: Katz Editores. ISBN   9788496859616.
Translation: Un pequeño empujón (in Spanish). Barcelona: Taurus. 2009. ISBN   9786073162067.

2010 onwards

Journal articles

See also

Related Research Articles

Conspiracy theory An explanation of an event or situation that unnecessarily invokes a conspiracy

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. The term has a pejorative connotation, implying that the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence. Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it, are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth, and the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than proof.

Bounded rationality is the idea that rationality is limited when individuals make decisions: by the tractability of the decision problem, the cognitive limitations of the mind, and the time available to make the decision. Decision-makers, in this view, act as satisficers, seeking a satisfactory solution rather than an optimal one.

Behavioral economics studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and social factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and how those decisions vary from those implied by classical theory.

Law and economics or economic analysis of law is the application of economic theory to the analysis of law that began mostly with scholars from the Chicago school of economics. Economic concepts are used to explain the effects of laws, to assess which legal rules are economically efficient, and to predict which legal rules will be promulgated.

Richard Thaler American economist

Richard H. Thaler is an American economist and the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 2015, Thaler was president of the American Economic Association.

Stephen Fain Williams is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Steven M. Wise is an American legal scholar who specializes in animal protection issues, primatology, and animal intelligence. He teaches animal rights law at Harvard Law School, Vermont Law School, John Marshall Law School, Lewis & Clark Law School, and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. He is a former president of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project. The Yale Law Journal has called him "one of the pistons of the animal rights movement."

The Volokh Conspiracy

The Volokh Conspiracy is a blog, co-founded in 2002 by law professor Eugene Volokh, covering legal and political issues from an ideological orientation it describes as "generally libertarian, conservative, centrist, or some mixture of these."

Jeremy Waldron is a New Zealand professor of law and philosophy. He holds a University Professorship at the New York University School of Law and was formerly the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford University. Waldron also holds an adjunct professorship at Victoria University of Wellington. Waldron is regarded as one of the world's leading legal and political philosophers.

Eric Posner American legal scholar

Eric Andrew Posner is an American law professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He is a professor of international law, contract law, and bankruptcy, among other areas. As of 2014, he was the 4th most-cited legal scholar in the United States. He is the son of retired Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner.

Libertarian paternalism is the idea that it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice, as well as the implementation of that idea. The term was coined by behavioral economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein in a 2003 article in the American Economic Review. The authors further elaborated upon their ideas in a more in-depth article published in the University of Chicago Law Review that same year. They propose that libertarian paternalism is paternalism in the sense that "it tries to influence choices in a way that will make choosers better off, as judged by themselves" ; note and consider, the concept paternalism specifically requires a restriction of choice. It is libertarian in the sense that it aims to ensure that "people should be free to opt out of specified arrangements if they choose to do so". The possibility to opt-out is said to "preserve freedom of choice". Thaler and Sunstein published Nudge, a book-length defense of this political doctrine, in 2008.

Nudge or Nudging may refer to:

Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule is an American legal scholar.

Marriage privatization is the concept that the state should have no authority to define the terms of personal relationships such as marriage. Proponents of marriage privatization, including certain minarchists, anarchists, libertarians, and opponents of government interventionism, claim that such relationships are best defined by private individuals and not the state. Arguments for the privatization of marriage have been offered by a number of scholars and writers. Proponents of marriage privatization often argue that privatizing marriage is a solution to the social controversy over same-sex marriage. Arguments for and against the privatization of marriage span both liberal and conservative political camps.

Richard Posner American judge

Richard Allen Posner is an American jurist and economist who was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago from 1981 until 2017, and is a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He is a leading figure in the field of law and economics, and was identified by The Journal of Legal Studies as the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century.

<i>Nudge</i> (book) 2008 non-fiction book by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness is a book written by University of Chicago economist Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School Professor Cass R. Sunstein, first published in 2008.

The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review is a student-run law review published by Harvard Law School. The journal is published two times per year and contains articles, essays, and book reviews concerning civil rights and liberties. In 2009 its online companion Amicus was launched, which features standard length journal articles coupled with online responses.

Nudge is a concept in behavioral science, political theory and behavioral economics which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals. Nudging contrasts with other ways to achieve compliance, such as education, legislation or enforcement. The concept has influenced British and American politicians. Several nudge units exist around the world at the national level as well as at the international level. It is disputed whether "nudge theory" is a recent novel development in behavioral science or merly a new term for one of many methods for influencing behavior, investigated in the science of behavior analysis.


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  25. Cass Sunstein (2005). "Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs".
  26. Sunstein, Cass (September 25, 2006). "Beyond Marbury: The Executive's Power To Say What the Law Is". The Yale Law Journal Retrieved 2013-08-07.
  27. 1 2 Thaler, Richard H.; Sunstein, Cass R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Caravan Books. ISBN   978-0-300-12223-7.
  28. "The Military Tribunal Debate". The American Prospect.
  29. Cass R. Sunstein, Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, The Free Press, 1995, p. 119e
  30. 1 2 Sunstein, Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, p. 119
  31. Cass Sunstein, 2.0 (Princeton University Press, 2007), p. xii
  32. Sunstein, Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech, p. xi
  33. Facing Animals Archived 2011-06-29 at the Wayback Machine May 9, 2007 speech at Harvard from Google video
  34. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-06-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), Accessed July 22, 2009
  35. 1 2 3, Accessed July 23, 2009
  36. "The Defense of Marriage Act: hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee".
  37. 1 2 3 Sunstein, Cass R.; Vermeule, Adrian (2008). "Conspiracy Theories by Cass Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule". doi:10.2139/ssrn.1084585. SSRN   1084585 .
  38. Archived January 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  39. Archived January 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  40. Greenwald, Glenn (January 15, 2010). "Obama confidant's spine-chilling proposal". Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  41. David Ray Griffin, Cognitive Infiltration, An Obama Appointee's Plan To Undermine The 9/11 Conspiracy Theory. Olive Branch Press, ISBN   978-1-56656-821-0
  42. Kurtis Hagen, "Is Infiltration of 'Extremist Groups' Justified?" International Journal of Applied Philosophy 24.2 (Fall 2010) 153–68.
  43. Kurtis Hagen, "Conspiracy Theories and Stylized Facts," Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 21.2 (Fall 2011) 3–22.
  44. Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America . University of Texas Press, 2014. ISBN   978-0-292-75769-1
  45. .,M1
  46. .
  47. Buckley, Cara (16 March 2008). "A Monster of a Slip". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  48. "Sunstein and Power, Harvard Power Couple, Tie the Knot". The Harvard Crimson. July 7, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  49. Kantor, Jodi (July 30, 2008). "Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Slightly Apart". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  50. Archived July 13, 2008, at
  51. "New Baby for New D.C. Power Couple". The Washington Post.
  52. Sunstein, Cass R. (29 April 2015). "How Far Can an Amateur Make It in a Professional Sports Tournament?".
  53. "Cass Sunstein - Professional Squash Association".
  54. "Elections to the British Academy celebrate the diversity of UK research". British Academy. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  55. "Holberg Prize and Nils Klim Prize Laureates 2018 Announced". Holbergprisen. 2017-03-10. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
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Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
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