Let Legislative Juries Decide Laws

Instead of having to meet the signature requirement, citizens proposing a law would have the right to have it qualified by the vote of a “qualifying jury,” after a fair hearing on a level playing field. If a proposal is qualified, whether by jury or signature requirement, the citizens putting it forward would have the right to have it decided by a legislative jury rather than by popular vote. Supporters and opponents of each proposed law would be given equal time to present their case to the jurors, at both the qualifying and legislative jury stages. Legislative juries might number 800 to 1,000 citizens in order to be a statistically reliable random sample of the people, and as such a good stand-in for the people as a whole, strongly tending to make the same decisions the whole people would, were it possible for all of the people to convene and spend days or weeks becoming well informed about the relevant facts and arguments. Let commissions chosen by jury propose laws to juries In addition to the juries commission, other commissions can also be chosen by jury by multi-winner RCV, with each of the several commissioners having the right to propose laws to qualifying juries, and, if qualified, to legislative juries for a final decision. Juries could choose commissioners for terms of perhaps two years. Such commissions can be called “law commissions.” I am not claiming the Greeks are the only people to have ever invented democracy. Greek democracy, like the early US Republic, excluded women and was a slave society. By a modern version of Athenian juries, I especially mean jury decision-making in a context of gender and racial equality, and the absence of slavery. Public support for the ballot initiative is high. For example, in California, “In recent PPIC [Public Policy Institute of Californian] Statewide Surveys, a strong majority of likely voters (72%) said it is a good thing that voters can make laws and change public policies by passing initiatives. Sixty percent of likely voters—including pluralities across parties—say that public policy decisions made through the initiative process are probably better than those made by the governor and state legislature.” Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Sonja Petek, and Jui Shrestha, “ The Initiative Process in California ,” Public Policy Institute of California, October 7, 2013. Richard Ellis, “ Signature Gathering in the Initiative Process: How Democratic Is It? ,” 64 Montana Law Review (2003): 63. See ,for example, Ibid., 47-71. Ibid., 63. Ibid., 60. Ibid., 70. Regarding the selection of public officials by jury see Threlkeld : October 23, 2019; August 12, 2016; August 9, 2016; October 14, 2015; September 16, 2015; Spring 1997. Lawrence Lessig, They Don’t Represent Us: Reclaiming Our Democracy (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 2019), 176. Noam Chomsky : “ Tom Ferguson ’s stellar work has demonstrated, very conclusively, that for a long period, way back, U.S. elections have been pretty much bought. You can predict the outcome of a presidential or congressional election with remarkable precision by simply looking at campaign spending. That’s only one part of it. Lobbyists practically write legislation in congressional offices. In massive ways, the concentrated private capital, corporate sector, super wealth, intervene in our elections, massively, overwhelmingly, to the extent that the most elementary principles of democracy are undermined.” See, for example, the work of social scientist  Michael X. Delli Carpini and law professor  Ilya Somin . Regarding the selection of politicians by jury see Threlkeld : October 23 , 2019; September 19 , 2017; August 12 , 2016; October 14, 2015. For more about how jury lawmaking could work see Threlkeld, September 19 , 2017, and Summer 1998 . See also Terrill Bouricius , April 30, 2013.

2020-06-23 | Democracy, Juries, Opinion | English |