Equality by Lot

Over the last two decades a number of books and journal articles have advocated the integration of sortition into constitutional practice (as opposed to the purely advisory role of Deliberative Polling and citizen juries on electoral reform). With the noted exception of Callenbach and Phillips’ Citizen Legislature all of the proposals have been subject to powerful criticisms by Yoram Gat, the moderator of this blog. Gat has been remarkably consistent in his criticisms, his prime objection being that the proposals are insufficiently radical as, by retaining a statutory role for the plural institutions of liberal democracy, they fail to adhere in full to the principles of Athenian-style sortive democracy – i.e. equality by lot.

What Gat has failed to do to date, however, is to provide us with a detailed and comprehensive constitutional programme of his own, nor pointed us towards any material that he has published elsewhere, so as a result his own proposals have not been subject to comparable scrutiny. Having corresponded with him at considerable length – offline as well as on this blog – he has been admirably consistent with his views, making it possible to reconstruct such a model from our exchanges alone, and I have been alarmed at how illiberal the model has turned out to be. If the man that I construct in this post turns out to be only made of straw, then I apologise in advance and look forward to Yoram’s corrections in the commentary section, but I’m entirely confident that his personal commitment to equality will ensure that he will not seek to exercise his moderator powers by suppressing this post.
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