“People often make poor choices.”
— Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein 2008.
Because the voters have poorly chosen their president, a liberal Harvard law professor (if you’ll pardon the redundancy) has proposed changing the rules.
Former Obama appointee Cass Sunstein is agitated that Donald Trump’s attorney general is trying to sort out how the FBI came to rely on Hillary Clinton’s Russian disinformation to spy on her rival’s presidential campaign. Writing for (who else?) the New York Times, Professor Sunstein demands:
“Congress should transform the Department of Justice into an independent agency untouched by the president’s whims.”
“The best reason to make an agency independent is to reduce the likelihood that its decisions will be affected by political considerations or the president’s self-interest,” Sunstein writes.
As if the Department of Justice is, somehow, above and beyond political considerations — a monastery in the clouds, populated by monks, mute and barefoot.
Q. Was fighting Jim Crow a political consideration?
A. Yes, and a damned good one!
Suffice to say that Sunstein never gave voice to his inner pollyanna when Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch were bending the arc toward social justice under Barack Obama.
Independent of whom?
It’s the same naive illusion that causes liberal good government goo goos to pine for a “non-partisan” legislative redistricting panel. Who are these spectacularly disinterested parties? Can they be secured from among the professoriate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison? From the membership of Citizens United? The League of Women Voters?
This is the age-old progressive dream: that only unelected and unaccountable “professionals” untrammeled by those great unwashed deplorables, should decide (to use a recent example) foreign policy. Or, in Wisconsin, manage our natural resources.
Remember the hue and cry when Tommy Thompson took over the Department of Natural Resources? Notice how first Jim Doyle and now Tony Evers were happy to appoint their own DNR secretary?
“The President’s whim?”
The President serves at the voters’ whim, which is more than any U.S. attorney general or federal prosecutor can claim.
Sunstein does not say who would appoint his politically neutered attorney general; apparently, it is not enough that the Senate must advise and consent. Instead, he proposes what amounts to a Tenure of Office Act (the Supreme Court eventually declared a similar law unconstitutional). Who would be his non-partisan attorney general? Certainly not the author of Radicals in Robes: Why Extreme Right-Wing Courts Are Wrong for America!
⇒ Is the professor aggrieved that JFK appointed his brother Bobby precisely because he did not want an independent Department of Justice?
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Like too many liberals, Sunstein wants to change the rules because he doesn’t like the score.