Cass Sunstein

Palin Vogue.JPG* Legal bills to blame for Sarah Palin’s exiting the Alaskan gubernatorial stage. [New York Times]
* Appellate lawyer Gregory Coleman had two dates with the SCOTUS justices in eight days. [Austin American-Statesman]
* The U.S. Treasury will soon have a Department of Automobiles. [Washington Post]
* Cass Sunstein has his fingers in White House policy and his eye on SCOTUS. [Wall Street Journal]
* Given the choice, would you rent the books for your IP class rather than buy them? [New York Times]
* Wachtell remains. (On top of the M&A list.) [Bloomberg]

National Enquirer Cass Sunstein Samantha Power.jpgThe world is obsessed with celebrity professors Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power, who recently left the ivory tower to take high-ranking positions in the Obama Administration. He might someday sit on the Supreme Court; she’s a winner of the Pulitzer Prize; and together, as we previously reported (see the update), they’re creating the World’s Smartest Baby.

How many HLS grads turned Harvard professors get named Fun Couple of the 21st Century by Esquire? The article begins:

If The Chronicle of Higher Education had paparazzi, a few of them would be camped outside this office right now.

The office is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and inside are two Harvard professors. The first — a tall woman in her thirties with long red hair — is wrapped in a wool blanket…. The second — a slightly older man who looks a bit like William Hurt — wears a dark suit and is twirling a Wilson tennis racket, a favorite habit of his. They’re talking about the usual — Obama, the fight against extremism, the future of the Supreme Court. And also, who should order flowers for the priest who helped them out with wedding plans.

In a week, they’re getting married in a small church in Ireland — a fact that, if those paparazzi did exist, would send them into a Brad-and-Angelina tizzy.

Oh, but such paparazzi do exist. Harvard Law School student “Percy Thrillington” snapped a few photos of the happy couple, in an HLS parking lot — the small parking lot just off Mass. Ave., next to the International Legal Studies library. They were unloading what said tipster described as “a rather dorky-looking red PT Cruiser.”

Chief Justice John G Roberts JGR PT Cruiser.jpg(Hey, Percy, lay off the PT Cruiser. If it’s good enough for Chief Justice John Roberts — see photo at right — then it’s good enough for Cass and Sam.)

After a heated bidding war between top tabloid publications — bids climbed well into the six figures, allowing Percy to pay for his law school education — ATL emerged victorious. We now proudly present exclusive photographs of the world’s leading legal-academic couple.

Check out paparazzi pics of the Power couple, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL World Exclusive: Paparazzi Photos of Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power!”

Cass Sunstein Samantha Power engaged ATL Above the Law blog.jpgBack in July, when we covered the nuptials of celebrity professors / Obama advisers Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power, we wrote: “We look forward to seeing the heights to which they will ascend, together, in the administration of President Obama.”

Well, now we know. Both have snagged important positions in the White House. As previously reported, Sunstein, a former colleague of Obama’s from the University of Chicago Law School faculty, was tapped to serve as “regulatory czar” — a big deal in an administration that will be cranking out lots of regulations.

And last night we learned that Samantha Power will be joining hubby Cass at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. From the Associated Press:

Samantha Power, the Harvard University professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who earned notoriety for calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a ”monster” while working to elect Barack Obama president, will take a senior foreign policy job at the White House….

Officials familiar with the decision say Obama has tapped Power to be senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, a job that will require close contact and potential travel with Clinton, who is now secretary of state. NSC staffers often accompany the secretary of state on foreign trips.

See, Obama does have a sense of humor! Or, more likely, Obama always planned to give Power a plum position, despite “Monstergate.” Sure, it wasn’t her finest hour; but as a Harvard Law School grad, Power is entitled to a few undiplomatic moments. Speculates Gawker: “If someone really wants to hire you, he’ll make your future boss promise to be nice to you, in exchange for her job.”

Update: More good news for Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein. A tipster tells us: “They’re creating a super-child of the 21st century. She’s pregnant!”

A little more about the Power couple, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Now Power and Sunstein Can Carpool To Work”

LEWW champagne2.jpgGood news for Legal Eagle Wedding Watchers: LEWW will be returning to a more frequent and timely posting schedule! Beginning next week, we’ll once again feature our gold standard of three fabulous couples per week to ogle and dissect.
We’ll bring you more hot August weddings tomorrow and Friday, but for now, it’s time for our readers to vote on a Couple of the Month for July. Although their write-up wasn’t in the NYT and therefore didn’t run in our normal LEWW column, we’re including celebrity professors Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein, whose union merited LEWW bonus coverage last month (as well as a shout-out in the Washington Post’s Reliable Source column).
For more information on these newlyweds, click on the link below. When you’re ready to vote, here’s the poll:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: July’s Couple of the Month”

Cass Sunstein Samantha Power engaged ATL Above the Law blog.jpgBack in May, we broke the news of the engagement of celebrity professors Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power. Both are Harvard-trained lawyers and high-profile advisers — current in Sunstein’s case, and former in Power’s case (see Monstergate) — to fellow HLS grad Barack Obama.

In the fall, Professor Sunstein will be teaching law at Harvard, where Professor Power teaches at the Kennedy School of Government. His relationship with Power reportedly played a major role in his decision to leave the University of Chicago, his longtime home in legal academia.

If you doubted our original report about the Power-Sunstein engagement, your doubts were misplaced. It’s now official. From the Irish Independent:

The man who brought them together was unavoidably detained elsewhere. Barack Obama has the small matter of a US presidential campaign to fight.

[On Friday], a world away in rain-lashed Co Kerry, two of his friends tied the knot. The wind blew and the rain poured down but it could not spoil a very special Fourth of July for Samantha Power.

Obama’s former adviser married Professor Cass Sunstein in Mary Immaculate Church, on the edge of the sea at Loher near Waterville, Co Kerry.

Irish-American academic and writer Samantha (38) arrived for her marriage to the 54-year-old law professor at the church in the parish of Caherdaniel, the home turf of 19th century politician, the Liberator Daniel O’Connell.

The couple met while working on the Obama presidential campaign.

The celebrated Sunstein and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Power are boldface names, and the person who brought them together is probably going to be the next President of the United States. But because their nuptials were not featured in the august pages of the New York Times — we wonder why they didn’t submit themselves (because they would have made the cut if they had) — Power and Sunstein are not eligible for consideration in the next installment of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch.

But we obviously could not let their wedding go unremarked. Hence this special report, which you can think of as “LEWW Supp.”

More details, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (Bonus Edition): Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein Get Hitched”

Foreign Policy magazine Top 100 public intellectuals.jpgIn the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine, you’ll find their list of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals. The list appears here (and you can vote for your top five). Bios of the honorees — and we must confess, some of these names didn’t ring a bell — appear here.

The public intellectuals explicitly identified on the list as lawyers, judges, or legal scholars are (in alphabetical order):

Aitzaz Ahsan, president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association, and a leader in the Pakistan People’s Party;

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate;

– Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig; and

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, who wrote the book on public intellectuals.

And here are two other honorees with legal links:

– University of Chicago law professor and philosopher Martha Nussbaum; and

– journalist, Harvard Law School graduate, and Kennedy School of Government professor Samantha Power.

Cass Sunstein Martha Nussbaum Samantha Power Above the Law blog.jpgWhat do Professors Nussbaum and Power share in common? Cass Sunstein, as you may recall.

Professor Nussbaum is a former flame of Professor Sunstein, while Professor Power is his current main squeeze. Rumor has it that his move to Harvard Law School from his longtime academic home, the University of Chicago Law School, was prompted by a desire to be closer to the center of power — Samantha Power, that is.

In their paper Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship, Professors Paul Edelman and Tracey George declared Cass Sunstein to be the “Kevin Bacon” of the law. But it looks like his influence extends beyond the narrow world of legal academia, into the World of Ideas, writ large.

In sum, two percent of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals are former or current lovers of Cass Sunstein. This should provide consolation for Cass, who didn’t make the list himself.

Professor Sunstein, you are the man.

The Top 100 Public Intellectuals [Foreign Policy]

The Top 100 Public Intellectuals: Bios [Foreign Policy]

Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship [SSRN / Green Bag]

Earlier: The Real Reason Cass Sunstein’s Going to Harvard? He’s Got the Power

Samantha Power.jpgWe updated our original post from this morning about Samantha Power calling Hillary Clinton a “monster,” but it’s a big enough development to cover in a separate post. So here we go.

Professor Power, rumored love interest of Cass Sunstein, resigned from the Obama campaign because of her tawdry remarks about Hillary Clinton in an interview earlier this week. She also apologized publicly:

“With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser the Obama campaign effective today,” Ms. Power said in a statement released by the campaign. “Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor, and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months.”

Obama Aide Resigns for Calling Clinton a ‘Monster’ [New York Times]

Power.jpgThat statement was made by Samantha Power, a top foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama and new-ish love interest of Professor Cass Sunstein. Sunstein recently accepted a position at Harvard Law, leaving behind in Chicago his ex, philosopher Martha Nussbaum. Bossman David Lat posted all the gossip about the academic love triangle here.

Power, pictured, let her words slip during an interview in London with The Scotsman yesterday. Other tasty bits from that interview:

“We f**ked up in Ohio,” she admitted.

“You just look at her [Clinton] and think, ‘Ergh’.

Apparently Power was under the impression that her remarks were “off the record,” and therefore couldn’t be attributed to her. The interview was actually totally on the record, and The Scotsman gives an explanation at the bottom of the link.

UPDATE: Power has resigned from the Obama campaign, effective immediately. See here.

‘Hillary Clinton’s a monster’: Obama Aid Blurts out Attack in Scotsman Interview [The Scotsman]

Samantha Power 2 Cass Sunstein Kennedy School of Government Above the Law blog.JPGWe greatly enjoyed our recent visit to the University of Chicago Law School. The U. Chicago students were very welcoming and made us feel right at home, even inviting us to their law school musical — which, by the way, was delightful.
(We added many of them as friends on Facebook before we were mysteriously banned from the site, without notice or explanation. So if you no longer see us on FB, it’s not because we “de-friended” you, but because our account was disabled.)
A few Chicago students, however, had a bone to pick with us. They objected to this ATL post, which cast the recently announced departure of Professor Cass Sunstein — prominent scholar, beloved teacher, and possible Supreme Court nominee under President Obama — as a hiring coup by Harvard Law School, a triumph by HLS over Chicago. They emphasized that Professor Sunstein’s leaving the Windy City for Cambridge was prompted by personal rather than professional reasons.
Professor Sunstein said as much his farewell email (emphasis added; in fact, all emphases added throughout this post, unless otherwise indicated):

I’m writing to say that I’ve just accepted an appointment at Harvard Law School. It is an understatement to say that I don’t take this step easily or lightly. As most of you know, I’ve been reflecting on this question for several years. I finally decided, for personal reasons, that I need a change.

Since he’s a prominent Obama supporter — as well an adviser to the campaign, but more on that later, since it ties into our tale — it’s not surprising that Professor Sunstein is All About Change.
The law school’s popular leader, Dean Saul Levmore, also stressed the personal component to Professor Sunstein’s move. As he told the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, the Maroon:

“I’m sort of embarrassed that [the story] said that the University of Chicago couldn’t be reached for comment,” Levmore said. “It looks like we didn’t want to talk, but the truth is that this decision [to leave Chicago for Harvard] was based on personal reasons and I respect that privacy. The media will find out about them soon enough.

With a comment like this, Dean Levmore was basically begging us to go digging. So dig we did.
Martha Nussbaum Cass Sunstein Above the Law blog.jpgLet’s see, Cass Sunstein’s “personal reasons” for leaving U. Chicago… hold on a sec. Isn’t Professor Sunstein part of legal academia’s most fabulous power couple, together with that renowned philosopher queen, Professor Martha Nussbaum? And didn’t Professor Nussbaum just turn down a Harvard offer?
That was then; this is now. What we learned in our investigation is consistent with this ATL comment, as well as this (subsequently removed) Wikipedia edit.
It appears that Professor Sunstein may be part of a new “power couple” — in the most literal sense. Rumor has it that he’s romantically involved with Professor Samantha Power — a beautiful, brainy professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who is roughly 15 years his junior. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner who has also been profiled in Men’s Vogue (see glamorous photo, at the top of this post). What’s not to like?
Update: More about Samantha Power here (from a college classmate who tried to hit on her, without success, and just ended arguing politics with her).
Now, please don’t give us full credit (or blame) for bringing to light the Sunstein-Power relationship. When we attended the Chicago Law School musical last weekend, Samantha Power got a shout-out near the end of the show, when the Cass Sunstein character announced his departure for Harvard. So the rumor of her romance with Professor Sunstein is already widely known throughout the U. Chicago community (and beyond); it’s no state secret. It is already known to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
We reached out to all three members of this Mensalicious love triangle, which seems to come straight out of a Saul Bellow novel. Find out what we learned — two of them had no comment, but one of them did — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Real Reason Cass Sunstein’s Going to Harvard? He’s Got the Power”

Cass Sunstein Professor Cass R Sunstein Above the Law blog.jpgIf we knew anything about sports, we’d say this is the legal academic equivalent of Major Player X leaving Super-Elite Team Y for Super-Elite Team Z. But we don’t. So we’ll just say it’s one of the biggest law school hiring coups since Harvard Law School snatched half of Feldsuk from NYU.
HLS strikes again — but this time around, the victim of their poaching is U. Chicago (where we’ll be making an appearance later this week, by the way). From the Harvard Law School website:

Renowned legal scholar and political theorist Cass R. Sunstein ’78 has accepted an offer to join the Harvard Law School faculty, Dean Elena Kagan ’86 announced today. Sunstein, currently a tenured professor at the University of Chicago Law School, will begin teaching at HLS in the fall. He will also become director of the new Program on Risk Regulation.

“Cass Sunstein is the preeminent legal scholar of our time — the most wide-ranging, the most prolific, the most cited, and the most influential,” said Kagan. “His work in any one of the fields he pursues — administrative law and policy, constitutional law and theory, behavioral economics and law, environmental law, to name a non-exhaustive few — would put him in the very front ranks of legal scholars; the combination is singular and breathtaking….”

Some tipsters’ takes:

“I imagine a lot of Chicago alums will be annoyed at the least.”

“Yet another high-profile move to HLS. Dean Kagan has done an amazing job these past few years getting big names out to Cambridge. (I’m just annoyed because I decided to take Admin Law this semester.)”

“[W]e just learned that although Martha Nussbaum turned down Harvard and Brown last week, Cass Sunstein ACCEPTED his Harvard Law offer! I’m torn – HUGE get in Sunstein, proving Elena Kagan is unstoppable, but is this trouble for the power couple?”

In December, we attended Professor Sunstein’s 2007 Distinguished Lecture at AEI in Washington, DC (where we’re currently based). We were mighty impressed by the good professor, who wasn’t just brilliant and articulate, but also funny and self-effacing. Congrats to HLS and Dean Kagan on this latest addition to the Cambridge constellation of legal geniuses!
Update: Additional analysis of the Sunstein move from Professor Brian Leiter appears here. It seems that all is well in Sunstein-Nussbaum land. Per Professor Leiter:

[A]s Cass told me, he will be keeping his Chicago apartment and an office at the University of Chicago Law School, and he will also continue teaching part-time at Chicago as the Harry Kalven Visiting Professor of Law (probably in the winter quarters).

Further Update / Correction: Uh, scratch that. As you may have surmised from some of the comments, Professors Nussbaum and Sunstein are no longer an item. Professor Sunstein has a new honey, Professor Samantha Power, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He’s moving to Harvard in part because of this new romance. More details here.
Sunstein, Harvard, Chicago [Leiter's Law School Reports]
Nussbaum Declines Harvard, Brown Offers, and Will Remain at Chicago [Leiter's Law School Reports]
Sunstein to join Harvard Law School faculty [Harvard Law School]
Cass Sunstein bio [University of Chicago Law School]
2007 Distinguished Lecture: Extremism [American Enterprise Institute]

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