“Absolutely fundamental deficits in understanding”

A British judge was very unhappy with the jury in a high-profile trial last week:

Vicky Pryce, the ex-wife of the disgraced cabinet minister Chris Huhne, faces a retrial next week over taking speeding points for him because a jury failed to reach a verdict, after suffering what the judge described as “absolutely fundamental deficits in understanding”.

The Guardian seemed to concur:

Mr Justice Sweeney discharged the panel of eight women and four men following more than 15 hours of deliberations, and a day after they submitted 10 questions that indicated they had not grasped the basics of their task,

but assembled a set of professionals defending the jury institution:
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A Belgian MP calling for sortition

Louis Laurent, a Belgian MP, is calling for the use of sortition in order to achieve “true representation” (machine translation with my touch-ups):

Louis Laurent demands the dissolution of “all political parties” responsible, according to him, for the current poor governance, corruption and cronyism at all levels of government.

Laurent demands the creation of a “citizen” parliament assembled by sortition, in order to guarantee true representation.

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Sortition adovcacy in Chile

Tomas Mancebo wrote to point out an article in a Chilean alternative publication, El Ciudadano, advocating sortition.

Mauricio Vergara writes (machine translation with my touch-ups):

The Greeks discovered the blunder of representative democracy and it took them 800 years to eliminate the oligarchy and institute a distinct democratic design.

The solution was the creation of a large assembly, where members are selected by lot, yes! … A raffle, where those citizens who meet certain requirements have equal opportunity to be selected and to influence the country’s policies as representatives.

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