Lani Guinier, Legal Scholar at the Center of Controversy, Dies at 71

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Politics|Lani Guinier, Legal Scholar astatine the Center of Controversy, Dies astatine 71

President Bill Clinton pulled her information arsenic adjunct lawyer wide successful 1993 aft she came nether disapproval for her views connected voting rights.

Lani Guinier successful  1998, 5  years aft  her information   for a apical  station  successful  the Justice Department was withdrawn.
Credit...Librado Romero/The New York Times

Clay Risen

Jan. 7, 2022, 4:49 p.m. ET

Lani Guinier, a ineligible student whose pioneering ideas astir voting rights and affirmative enactment led President Bill Clinton to nominate her successful 1993 to beryllium an adjunct lawyer general, lone to retreat her sanction 2 months aboriginal aft Republicans launched a run against her, died connected Friday. She was 71.

Her relative Sherrie Russell-Brown confirmed the decease but did not supply further details.

Descended from a agelong enactment of lawyers, Ms. Guinier made a sanction for herself successful the 1980s arsenic a nuanced and challenging thinker astir whether America’s ineligible institutions, adjacent aft the civilian rights gyration of the 1960s, needed to alteration further to recognize existent democracy.

She argued, for example, that the rule of “one person, 1 vote” was insufficient successful a strategy wherever the interests of minorities, radical oregon otherwise, were inevitably trampled by those of the majority, and she argued for a assortment of alternatives.

She did truthful aft a stint moving successful the civilian rights part of the Department of Justice successful the precocious 1970s nether President Jimmy Carter. She near successful 1981, erstwhile President Ronald Reagan took office, and worked for astir of the decennary astatine the Voting Rights Project of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

She aboriginal became a prof of instrumentality astatine the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998 she moved to Harvard Law School, wherever she became the archetypal pistillate of colour to person tenure.

President Clinton nominated her for the station of adjunct lawyer wide for civilian rights successful 1993. But she rapidly came nether occurrence from Republicans for her wide views connected voting rights and quotas, which they said she supported, though successful information she opposed them.

Although they took purpose astatine her ideas, Professor Guinier’s opponents besides made wide that it was a substance of opportunity. Still stinging from the Supreme Court information battles implicit Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, they were looking for payback.

“Clinton has not had to expend immoderate governmental superior connected the contented of quotas,” Clint Bolick, a blimpish lawyer and activistic who helped pb the complaint against her, told The New York Times successful 1993, “and with her, we judge we could inflict a dense governmental cost.”

President Clinton yet bowed to unit and withdrew her information successful June 1993, calling immoderate of her positions “anti-democratic.”

A implicit obituary volition look shortly.

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