Let Legislative Juries Decide Laws

In a new article in Dissident Voice I explain how laws can be decided by legislative juries, and why this is far preferable to laws being decided by elected politicians and the ballot initiative. This is an update and further statement of the legislative juries proposal I first published in 1998. I set out four ways in which I am in favour of laws being proposed to legislative juries, my preferred approach to deciding the details and arrangements for jury lawmaking, and some of the role agenda juries can play.

It would be far better and far more democratic if laws are decided by legislative juries rather than by elected politicians.

Legislative juries would decide proposed laws by majority vote, using secret ballot, after a fair hearing on a level playing field with supporters and opponents of the proposed law having equal time to present their case to the jury.

It is essential that rule by the people be exercised in an informed manner, including with regard to deciding laws, because informed views are a far better basis for a decision than poorly informed and uninformed views.

A fair hearing on a level playing field is necessary in order to treat supporters and opponents of proposed laws in a fair and even-handed way, and to ensure the jury’s decision is based on the informed judgement of the jurors, rather than being the result of a skewed and unfair playing field. A well-designed trial-like process is in my view the best approach for ensuring that legislative juries make informed decisions.

In order to have informed rule by the people in lawmaking, no law would go into effect without the informed consent of a jury. In order to have what are the best possible laws in the informed judgement of juries, juries need to be given a range of choice that as much as possible includes the proposed laws they would prefer to all of the possible alternatives.

Some of the article’s subheadings:

  • Problems with the ballot initiative
  • Let juries qualify and decide citizen-proposed laws
  • Let commissions chosen by jury propose laws to juries
  • Let politicians propose laws to juries
  • Let juries propose laws to juries
  • Deciding the details of jury lawmaking
  • Condorcet voting for alternative proposals on the same topic
  • Juries, not politicians, should decide laws

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