Deliberative Dilemmas: A Critique of Deliberation Day from the Perspective of Election Law

24 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2007 Last revised: 5 Aug 2009

Chad Flanders

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Abstract

My paper deals with two subject areas - deliberative democracy theory and election law - that have had surprisingly little contact with another. My paper tries to remedy this lacuna by looking at how the two fields intersect and can contribute to the understanding of one another. In particular, I look in detail at a particularly prominent proposal by two political theorists, Bruce Ackerman and James Fishkin's Deliberation Day, and how the aims of that proposal might be frustrated by the present structure of American election law. I argue that because they fail to take into account certain structural features of how America conducts its election, Ackerman and Fishkin's plan may have the effect of reducing the amount of good political deliberation, rather than increasing it. My paper concludes by suggesting that instead of Ackerman and Fishkin's faith in bottom-up citizen deliberation, we might do better to introduce certain top-down structural changes in election law in order to make deliberation more democratic.

Keywords: election law, deliberation, political philosophy

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Flanders, Chad, Deliberative Dilemmas: A Critique of Deliberation Day from the Perspective of Election Law. Journal of Law and Politics, Vol. 24, 2007; Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=978188

Chad Flanders (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

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