May 5, 2009
Cass Sunstein and “Net Neutrality”
In my previous posts on why I think Cass Sunstein will be Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court to replace outgoing Justice David Souter, two separate commenters mentioned net neutrality as a reason to oppose a Sunstein nomination.
1) Sunstein isn’t my personal top choice; that would be Sunstein protege Diane Wood, who has the strongest record of unambiguously supporting strict separation of church and state. Sunstein was just the first name that popped into my head when the news broke, and I was — and am! — surprised that he doesn’t seem to be getting any sort of attention from the Jeffrey Toobins and Chuck Todds of the world. So far I have not seen a single mainstream media mention of Sunstein as a potential nominee, and that strikes me as seriously underrating his chances.
2) On the issues: Sunstein explicitly mentioned net neutrality as a reason he was voting for Obama back in the Democratic primaries in his 2008 endorsement:
He [Obama] proposes a $150 billion research budget for climate change. He wants to hold an unprecedented national auction for the right to emit greenhouse gases. He has offered an ambitious plan for promoting technological innovation, calling for a national broadband policy, embracing network neutrality, and proposing a reform of the patent system.
That seems pretty clear to me.
3) In the alternative, if you think Sunstein is secretly opposed to net neutrality as a matter of public policy, you should be rooting for his appointment to the Supreme Court and away from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, where any such policies will actually be enacted over the next few years.