concurs with the cited legal reference. The two (courts and arbitration panels) recognize eachother just as the 'ole RacerX advised. See Sandra Day O'Connor's article below for anyone still thick enough around here that does not believe the Racer's sage counsel regarding the usage of arbitration!
Transcript of Remarks by
Sandra Day O'Connor
Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
On the Occasion of the Dedication Ceremony
for the Friends Building of the
Western Justice Center Foundation
Made at the Ambassador Auditorium
in Pasadena, California
on February 8, 1999
"The original Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals court building was in San Francisco. The Court of Appeals judges from Southern California had chambers in a court building in downtown Los Angeles. In 1986 the Government dedicated the old Vista del Arroyo Hotel here in Pasadena to a federal Court of Appeals building for Southern California. Along with the hotel came the 12 vacation bungalows on the grounds of the old hotel. The Court of Appeals judges who were to occupy the Pasadena Courthouse were concerned about the future use of the bungalows. The bungalows were, after all, in their own yard or cartilage, so to speak.
"A Remarkable Bit of Community Action and Ingenuity"
In a remarkable bit of community action and ingenuity in 1985, a group of judges and some local lawyers decided to form the Western Justice Center Foundation and to use some of the bungalows for related programs and activities. The original purpose of the Foundation was to provide research on the uses of alternative dispute resolution methods, and to develop strategies for improving the administration of justice. The founders envisioned a center of scholarship and research on the peaceful resolution of disputes, and seminars and conferences on innovative ways to improve our justice system.
The Foundation worked with the City of Pasadena to acquire four of the bungalows. The City purchased them from the federal General Services Administration and then leased them to the Foundation on a long-term basis.
In the years that followed, the Foundation raised the funds to renovate the Richard Keatinge Building, which was dedicated in 1994 by my colleague, Justice Kennedy. In 1996 the second building was restored and leased to the Pacific Oaks Research Center, an institution doing research on early childhood education, conflict resolution and race-bias reduction. It was dedicated by then Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas of the California Supreme Court. Today, we celebrate the restoration of the third building, the Friends Building, with an initial grant from the Irvine Foundation. There is one more building to be renovated -- the Maxwell House -- so stay tuned for a fourth dedication ceremony a year or so down the road, as we say, in the next Millennium.
"A Catalyst Organization"
Along with the renovation of the buildings, the Foundation itself was renovated in a sense. It became more of a catalyst organization to bring together other organizations to focus on particular projects. The result was development of a dispute resolution system for intergovernmental conflicts in the Southern California region, and, also, a system for conflict resolution in the public schools. It also developed an international consortium with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, which has provided some assistance in South Africa.
The Foundation can point to some concrete accomplishments in programs as well as the physical plant. Today 25 school systems are using, teaching, and applying the Foundation's model curriculum on conflict resolution. The Race Unity and Diversity Consortium is succeeding in replicating its Pasadena pilot project in cities and towns across the state. The Ninth Circuit Appellate mediation evaluation project is now well in place. The South African program has produced additional interactive programs in 20 locations in California.
The Friends Building which we dedicate today will house a regional division of the Casey Foundation which is devoted to the development of ways to mentor, protect, and enhance the lives of foster children, as well as housing other organizations concerned with childhood development. It will also house FACS[the Foundation for American Communications], an organization for education of the media about law, justice, and alternative dispute resolution. The Casey Foundation Center is headed by Dr. Katherine Gabel, a remarkable and talented woman whom I first knew in the early 1970s in Arizona, when she headed the first of that State's juvenile prison facilities. She brings a lifetime of experience working with children to her new work with the Casey Foundation.
Now all of this is a bit of background on why we are gathered here today. It also explains why I am so pleased to be here. Although I am the Ninth Circuit Justice it is my first visit to the Richard Chambers Courthouse and its neighboring bungalows.
"We Must Find Ways to Mend the Tears in Our Social Fabric"
A principal focus of the Western Justice Center Foundation is on nonjudicial dispute resolution. In our country it is an important focus, indeed. Americans are the most litigious people in the world today. Our judicial system has been too successful in some ways.
Within our communities, disputes between neighbors and citizens are common. Squabbles between neighbors over yards, dogs, fences and boundaries have always existed. But in the past few years, we have witnessed rioting in the streets of major cities, and frequent breakdowns in the relationships between employers and their employees. We have been made painfully aware of the violence within our schools by the ghastly school shootings in Oregon and Arkansas. Even within churches, disputes have arisen between ministers and congregations, retiring pastors and new pastors and members of a religious institution's hierarchy.1 I have even read a report of a conflict arising from a congregation's accusation that its minister had an "unbending" biblical interpretation.2 In short, conflict can be found throughout our community, including those parts of our community Ã¢â¬â families, schools and churches Ã¢â¬â that, for a long time, have functioned to resolve disputes, not initiate them.
Pundits have suggested a number of theories to explain the growing number of conflicts within our community, ranging from rapid industrialization and urbanization to a general break down in societal mores. While it is important to identify the causes of conflict in our society, regardless of the cause, we must find ways to mend the tears in our social fabric arising from these disputes. In short, we must find ways to resolve more of the disputes that permeate our society, and do so effectively and nonviolently.
"Alternatives to Full Adjudication are Numerous and Accessible"
Not all disputes are amenable to adjudication in court. With apologies to any plaintiffs' lawyers present today, the courtroom may be a poor vehicle for resolving some disputes because the adversarial process can work to increase tension between adversaries rather than settle it. One reason is that a court must focus on the particular dispute before it and not formulate long-term solutions to complex community problems. If there is no broader approach to resolve these conflicts, even a local dispute can end in violence.
In the context of cases in the courts, alternatives to full adjudication are numerous and accessible. For example, litigants have the option of seeking resolution through neutral evaluation, negotiation, arbitration, mediation, or even summary jury trials. This range of alternative dispute resolution options have benefited the legal system not only relieving some congestion in the dockets of courts, but also by providing an effective, less costly, and often more satisfying means to resolve the disputes".