The Dispute Resolution Section’s Public Policy, Consensus Building, and Democracy Committee welcomes you to the June issue of Just Resolutions E-News. Our theme is Public Disputes and Problem Solving. As Co-Chairs of this Committee we acknowledge, with gratitude, the authors of each of the articles that follow. A number of articles stand alone while others are paired to provide dual perspectives on a topic. Together, they offer a range and depth of experience, thoughtful insights, and innovative practices that are especially timely given the challenges facing our communities.
In this present issue, we believe that each article, in its own way, is in service to ABA 2011 Resolution 108 that provides a call to action urging “all lawyers, ABA member entities, other bar associations, and government officials and employees to take meaningful steps to enhance the constructive role of lawyers in promoting a more civil public discourse and a more deliberative American democracy.”
It is important to explain that the articles in this issue were solicited and written before the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, and before the outrage and protests that have followed. However it may be that the public disputes and problem solving themes and tools discussed in this issue will find application as municipalities and others address issues such as police department hiring practices, rules for police use of force, and the re-visioning and re-organization of local policing and law enforcement.
The purpose of the Public Policy, Consensus Building, and Democracy committee is to provide a common venue for those interested in public policy, consensus building, and democracy as these relate to dispute resolution. This builds upon traditional public policy dispute resolution by including constructive dialogue, consensus building practices, and democratic governance. It emphasizes the capacity of dispute resolution practice and theory to foster integrative solutions to public policy disputes in particular cases, and more broadly to deliberative democracy, collaborative governance, and the rule of law. We always, and especially at this time, welcome new committee members,