The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy

Overview

At last...the public hearing she was denied...These essays reveal keen powers of analysis applied to some of the most obdurate problems that bedevil electoral politics. Anyone who cares about the mechanisms of democracy should be engaged by her tough-minded explorations. It doesn't matter where you think you stand: it's all here, to argue or agree with.

-- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Lani Guinier's fascinating book is a prophetic intervention into a public conversation we desperately...

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Overview

At last...the public hearing she was denied...These essays reveal keen powers of analysis applied to some of the most obdurate problems that bedevil electoral politics. Anyone who cares about the mechanisms of democracy should be engaged by her tough-minded explorations. It doesn't matter where you think you stand: it's all here, to argue or agree with.

-- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Lani Guinier's fascinating book is a prophetic intervention into a public conversation we desperately need to rejuvenate. There is no doubt that her powerful voice will produce good consequences for our nation and world.

-- Cornel West, Author of Race Matters

Intriguing and desperately needed...

-- The San Francisco Chronicle

Now available in paperback, The Tyranny of the Majority "highlights the distortion of Guinier's written record, clarifies and explains her creative approach to voting rights problems and open a crucial dialogue on race and democracy."--The Boston Globe.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Like most Americans, President Clinton hadn't read Guinier's controversial academic writings when he nominated her to the position of assistant attorney general for civil rights. Now, with the publication of this collection of essays, a larger reading audience will have an opportunity to learn more about her views on voting rights. Guinier discusses the dilemma facing a democracy when a minority's own interests are consistently blocked by an electoral majority. While espousing a notion that is as simple as Robert Fulghum's admonition that we take turns, she also proposes complex remedial alternatives ranging from interest-based electoral districts to cumulative voting. As with many collections of previously published writings, the individual chapters don't all fit together. This is a difficult and controversial book, full of murky ideas and writing, but it should be as widely read as possible because the success of our democracy requires the discussion of ideas.-- Jerry E. Stephens, U.S. Court of Appeals Lib., Oklahoma City
Gilbert Taylor
Here they are--the law-review articles that last year cost Guinier her chance to become the government's top civil rights enforcer. In their unexpurgated plenitude (the footnotes constitute one-third of their bulk, though), these sources of the quotations that the media echo chamber amplified into the "quota queen" charge afford a two-step entry into Guinier's world of voting theory. The first, pronounced in "The Triumph of Tokenism," is Guinier's attack on the huge increase in the number of elected minority officials since the Voting Rights Act passed as a specious advance (within this critique comes her position on the celebrated question of an official's "authenticity"). The second step is made up of the remedies--especially cumulative voting (in which each voter casts more than one vote) and multiple-seat districts--that she argues will better represent minority interests. Unfortunately, Guinier nowhere defines those interests, which will probably lose her many a general reader. Still, everyone knows, or thinks they know, what racism, Guinier's raw main subject, is. It is repeatedly implicated in such crash-and-burn spectacles as Guinier's failed nomination, and the visceral feelings that nomination evoked guarantee considerable interest in these articles.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780029131725
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1994
  • Pages: 324

Table of Contents

Foreword
1 The Tyranny of the Majority 1
2 Keeping the Faith: Black Voters in the Post-Reagan Era 21
3 The Triumph of Tokenism: The Voting Rights Act and the Theory of Black Electoral Success 41
4 No Two Seats: The Elusive Quest for Political Equality 71
5 Groups, Representation, and Race Conscious Districting: Case of the Emperor's Clothes 119
6 Lines in the Sand: A Review of Charles Fried's Order and Law 157
7 Epilogue: Lessons 188
Notes 193
Acknowledgments 307
List of Cases 309
Subject Index 313
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