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Lift Every Voice:
When Bill Clinton nominated University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Lani Guinier to the position of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 1993, she was immediately beset upon by right-wing critics of the president. Taking her writings on cumulative and proportional voting out of context, they branded her a "quota queen." Guinier, on instructions from administration officials, made almost no effort to defend herself against this public smearing of her work and reputation. Then, to her surprise, Clinton himself withdrew her nomination, stating in a press conference that her views were "undemocratic."
The Tyranny of the Majority reprinted the articles that were the source of this controversy. Now, in Lift Every Voice, Professor Guinier explains the principles underlying those writings in layman's terms and offers her personal perspective on what happened in the spring and summer of 1993, taking us behind the scenes to meetings with Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, and other Washington officials. But perhaps more importantly, she writes about how, after she was cut loose by an intimidated White House, she regained her confidence in the civil rights movement. Recalling the activism of ordinary people like her father and the clients she represented as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Guinier reminds us that a better society cannot be built by governmental edict alone, but requires commitment on the part of the citizenry. A recent book on mathematics, K.C. Cole's The Universe and the Teacup, vindicated Guinier's theories on proportional representation at the statistical level. The debate sparked by Lift Every Voice may, in the long run, end up vindicating her at the political level as well. [via]