Clinical Programs: Legislation Clinic
The People as Legislators: The Influence of Direct Democracy
March 3, 2006
Ohio Statehouse and Vern Riffe Center
|Keynote speaker Elizabeth Garrett spoke on "The People as Legislators: The Influence of Direct Democracy"|
This one-day conference at the Riffe Center and the Ohio Statehouse in Ohio's state capital examined the contemporary functioning of core elements of American democracy, including the complex interplay between popular democracy and representative institutions.
The initiative and referendum processes put legislative power directly into the people's hands. In recent years, voters at the polls have confronted a sweeping array of ballot questions, from how to define the relationship of marriage, to whether the state should fund a particular environmental program, to the number of terms that elected legislators can serve.
These and many other examples of "direct democracy" are often heralded as embodying the essence of popular government. At the same time, they are often viewed as a reflection of the failings of representative democracy.
Both perspectives undoubtedly capture important aspects of the initiative and referendum processes that are the essence of direct democracy. But what does society expect from these processes, and how well are they working? This conference brought together a variety of academicians, public officials, and interest group representatives to discuss these and other questions.
- The Michael E. Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University
- The Legislation Clinic at the Moritz College of Law
- The Center for Interdisciplinary Law and Policy Studies at the Moritz College of Law