By Lani Guinier
Lift Every Voice (Simon and Schuster, 1998) takes readers behind the closed doors of the Oval Office, the Justice Department and the U.S. Senate with an insiders account of one of Bill Clintons most controversial nominations. Lani Guiniers thought provoking ideas about representative democracy were grossly distorted and mischaracterized in a successful effort to derail her nomination to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1993. The low-tech lynching she experienced forms the backdrop for Prof. Guiniers insightful look at how President Clinton abandoned his ambitious civil rights agenda in the face of heated criticism and how the civil rights movement suffered a major setback as a result. The book is more than a memoir, however, and honors the efforts of the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement the men and women who believe fervently in the promise of democracy and act on that belief every day of their lives. Prof. Guinier also shows by her example, how the leaders of the civil rights movement are often silenced by the very people they should be challenging. Finally, she explains the ideas that were at the heart of the controversy, examines the state of race relations, and calls for a national conversation to reframe issues of civil rights and social justice.
Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School, and Institutional Change
In Becoming Gentlemen (Beacon Press, 1997), Lani Guinier, then a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, along with co-authors Michelle Fine, professor of social psychology at the Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York; and Jane Balin, assistant professor of sociology at Colgate University unveil a thought-provoking thesis about the pressure put on women in law school to conform to a rigid standard and learning model in order to succeed. The title is taken from a comment made by a male colleague to a first year class, To be a good lawyer, behave like gentlemen.
In essays supported by research and first-person narratives, the authors explore how turning women into gentlemen can engender a sense of alienation and undermine individual development and performance. Professor Guinier also draws upon her own Alice in Wonderland-like experience as President Clintons nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights to describe the effects of having ones identity and voice distorted in a hostile environment.
The Tyranny of the Majority :Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy
President Clintons 1993 nomination of Lani Guinier to head the justice departments civil rights enforcement efforts ignited a firestorm that thrust the political scholar and law professor into the harsh glare of the national spotlight. At the heart of the controversy were misinterpretations of Prof. Guiniers writings on democracy, political equality and majority rule. The Tyranny of the Majority (The Free Press, 1994) is a compilation of the articles that provoked the fierce opposition of Clintons enemies.
As Prof. Guinier points out in the opening essay, the potential tyranny
of majority rule was of major concern to those who founded this republic.
She takes that concern a few steps further and explores positive-sum,
taking turns solutions for when majority rule is patently unfair
to those in the minority. Along the way, she challenges the civil rights
movement to progress beyond its tried and true tactics, including its
focus on the numbers of elected black officials and proposes ways to
rejuvenate the political system to give voters reasons to participate.
Colleges Should Take 'Confirmative Action' in Admissions
Modest Proposal for Voter Empowerment
from the Bottom Up
Every Vote Count
Ballot, Via the Courthouse
We Must Overcome
Must Stop Harassing Black Kids