Cass Sunstein leaving White House

AP

Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s “regulatory czar,” will leave his administration post and head back to Harvard Law School later this month, Politico reported Friday morning:

Sunstein, a celebrity academic who met Barack Obama when they were both teaching at University of Chicago Law School was among the world’s most-quoted law professors when he came to Washington in 2009. He was named the new president’s chief regulatory enforcer (often called the “regulatory czar”) as head of OIRA (“oh-eye-ruh”), an office that gets little attention but is among an administration’s most potent levers.

Flashback: (Beck in 2009: ‘The most dangerous czar’)

Like Obama, Sunstein embraces “behavioral economics” – an emphasis on human behavior, rather than abstract theory, for identifying incentives to promote desired financial and environmental activity by individuals and corporations. The field of study supplied early underpinnings for Obama’s plans for health care and financial regulation.

Sunstein became a lightning rod for liberal activists who had hoped the administration would be more aggressive with regulatory policy.

(Flashback: Cass Sunstein says the conservative view of the Constitution requires a ‘time machine’)

As TheBlaze’s Erica Ritz defined earlier this week, “Sunstein has long-advocated “nudging” Americans in the direction they really ought to go, by defining their choices and making the less desirable ones more inconvenient.  No one is forcing you to do anything…just helping to guide your decisions.”

At Harvard, Sunstein will hold the position of Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and director of the school’s of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, according to Politico.

“For the last three and a half years, Cass Sunstein has helped drive a series of historic accomplishments on behalf of the American people,” Obama said in a statement. “From putting in place lifesaving protections for America’s families, to eliminating tens of millions of hours of paperwork burdens for our nation’s citizens and businesses, Cass has shown that it is possible to support economic growth without sacrificing health, safety, and the environment.”

Sunstein is married to Samantha Power, who heads the National Security Council’s Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights and is a champion of the “Responsibility to Protect” United Nations initiative.

News of Sunstein’s departure comes after a report last week that the Obama administration is holding off on implementing “costly and controversial” regulations until after the election, so as not to hurt the president’s chances.

This post has been updated since it was first published.