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Can Direct Democracy Be Made Deliberative?

Ethan J. Leib

Fordham University School of Law

Buffalo Law Review, Vol. 54, 2006

Every election cycle a great number of citizens take to the polls to vote on public policy matters directly. Direct democracy has problems. And an account of deliberative democracy — far from being a source to critique direct democracy — might provide a solution.

I have three goals in this short Essay. First, I hope to identify some problems with the mechanisms of direct democracy that most states and many cities throughout the country employ: the initiative and the referendum. Next, I will offer a potential solution to these institutional problems using aspects of the theory of deliberative democracy, a theory often marshaled to undermine direct democracy. Finally, I will spell out why this design project should be of especial interest to lawyers.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

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Date posted: October 26, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Leib, Ethan J., Can Direct Democracy Be Made Deliberative?. Buffalo Law Review, Vol. 54, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=940392

Contact Information

Ethan J. Leib (Contact Author)
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
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