Judicial Reforms

I found a blog that advocates the random selection of judges (from a pool of qualified candidates) and an increase of jury powers. There’s not much defense offered for the proposals–it’s just a list of ideas. Some of these ideas would fit well, I believe, in a “demarchy” or other polity type that relies more extensively on sortition. Some of them seem completely unrelated to random selection, however; instead, they seem simply to be libertarian contrivances to hamstring the government’s ability to act. (Libertarians like to require unanimity before government agent’s can act in ways that influence people’s property, because they know unanimity is almost impossible to obtain in such matters. They also like to pretend that the U.S. Constitution is so transparent in its meaning that all we have to do is attend to the “original meaning” of the words.)

The blog posting can be found at…


2 Responses

  1. Judicial sortition should be an important component of democratization of government.

    Strengthening juries could be a natural starting point for a pro-sortition platform. The shortcoming of putting this item at center stage is that despite right-wing harping about the supposed liberalism of the courts, and despite the inherent elitism of the judiciary as it is currently formed, the courts are among the more trusted institutions of government.

    Targeting for reform the branch of government that is perceived as being most functional seems like poor tactics.


  2. I thought that judges in the US were already allocated randomly (as Samaha said in his unpublished paper). Is this just customary, and this guy wants to make it mandatory?

    (It would be lovely if here in the UK the chairs of Gov’t Enquiries were picked by lot from a panel. We have a long tradition of hand-picked chairs who produce the required result – for the gov’t!)


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