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

Ms. Guinier married Nolan Bowie, a fellow professor and legal scholar, in 1986. He survives her, as do her sisters, Clotilde Guinier Stenson, Sary Guinier and Marie Guinier; her son, Nikolas Bowie, also a law professor at Harvard; her stepdaughter, Dana Rice; and a granddaughter.

After a clerkship with a U.S. District Court judge in Michigan and a year working with juvenile offenders in Detroit, Ms. Guinier moved to Washington to work in the Department of Justice. She left in 1981, when President Ronald Reagan took office, and for most of that decade she led the Voting Rights Project of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Ms. Guinier became an aggressive litigator, traveling, for example, in 1985 to Alabama, where, with Deval Patrick, the future governor of Massachusetts, she helped lead the defense in a voting rights case against Jeff Sessions, the future senator and attorney general who was then a U.S. attorney. Her team won an acquittal.

“She was easily one of the most innovative thinkers in the voting rights space,” Sherrilyn Ifill, the outgoing head of the Legal Defense Fund, said in a phone interview.

Ms. Guinier left the defense fund for a position at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1989. There she began to turn her experience defending voting rights into ideas about how to reform the system.

She argued, for example, that merely having a vote was not enough for minorities, especially those from oppressed classes. She proposed a variety of alternatives, like cumulative voting, in which people get a number of votes to distribute as they wish — a process that might allow minority voters to concentrate their support on a single candidate and in that way increase their influence as a bloc.

“Her concern was that each vote count the same as the next vote, and the normal districting process does not create that,” Gerald Torres, a professor at Yale Law School and a frequent collaborator, said by phone.

White House Says It Does Not Keep Visitor Logs at Biden’s Delaware Home

WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days. A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for […]

Know More

A Florida School Received a Threat. Did a Red Flag Law Prevent a Shooting?

The requests were granted. But the results of the search were not what the detective expected. Memories of Parkland Nationally, more than 20,000 petitions for extreme risk protection orders were filed from 1999 to 2021, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group. A vast majority of those petitions — more […]

Know More

A Colossal Off-Year Election in Wisconsin

Lauren Justice for The New York Times Conservatives have controlled the court since 2008. Though the court upheld Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, last year it ruled drop boxes illegal, allowed a purge of the voter rolls to take place and installed redistricting maps drawn by Republican legislators despite the objections of Gov. Tony Evers, a […]

Know More