Sortition in the Executive

Much of the sortition discussion revolves around the legislative branch, but historically, it was often the random selection of magistrates that signaled a true democracy. I would like to start a discussion of how executive officers can be selected by lot in a modern state. This is crucially important, because while the legislature may be the traditional home of sovereignty in a democracy, the executive branch is what most citizens experience as the state.

My first post deals with a structure that I call a coordination hierarchy, which I believe should be the standard way to organize the political layer of the executive branch. In future posts, I will discuss criticisms and challenges to this structure, as well as fleshing out some other requirements to make this system work in practice. My ultimate goal is to describe a way in which the political layer can be populated by a political service: a professional corps of public servants who are responsive to the public through citizen juries, but which operates under a set of constraints that make it look more like the civil service.

Leydet: Which conception of political equality do deliberative mini-publics promote?

A 2016 paper by Dominique Leydet from the department of philosophy at the University of Québec at Montréal:

Which conception of political equality do deliberative mini-publics promote?

My objective in this article is to achieve a clearer understanding of the conception of political equality that informs at least some of these democratic designs in relation to equality of opportunity, but also in relation to agency, both individual and collective.

To do so, I will focus, in the first section, on the methods of participant selection advocated to secure equal presence. According to what principle is participation distributed? If it is according to the equal chance or equal probability principle, rather than equal opportunity, what difference does this make in terms of the underlying conception of political equality? Is ‘equal presence’ conceived strictly in individualist terms or is it related to groups? And, if so, how?

In the second section, I consider the issue of voice. Achieving equality in this context is conceived in terms of equalizing opportunities for influence among participants (Smith 2009: 21-22; Fishkin 2009: 100-101; Fung 2003: 348). I intend to clarify the conditions the designs establish to achieve this objective despite the existence of background inequalities. How is the political agency of participants understood and facilitated in this respect? And what does this say about the underlying conception of political equality?