President Obama’s choice of a Michigan trial lawyer to serve on the Consumer Product Safety Commission would shift the balance of power at the agency and ensure a pro-regulatory majority through most of 2013, regardless of who is in the White House next year.


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Last week Obama nominated Marietta S. Robinson to take the seat of Thomas H. Moore, who left the CPSC last fall. The commission is currently operating with four members — two Democrats and two Republicans. If confirmed by the Senate, Robinson would give Democrats a 3-to-2 majority at an agency that regulates thousands of consumer products from children’s toys to power tools.

The current split at the CPSC has slowed major regulatory actions, at least temporarily. The CPSC will debate its 2012 operating plan on March 7, setting up a potential showdown among commissioners.

The CPSC is charged with “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.” In recent years, that role has expanded as a result of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Many major regulatory actions over the past year were decided along party lines.


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Read More at The Foundry By Rob Bluey and Alison Meyer, The Foundry


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