At Holistic Survival, we happen to believe that the U.S. Constitution is still a relevant document. We’re pretty sure the Founding Fathers didn’t just slap together a few haphazard ideas, call it the Bill of Rights, and stroll down to the nearest pub to tip a few pints and make fun of Ben Franklin for flying a kite in a thunderstorm. In fact, we’re almost certain that particular group of statesmen took the idea of civil rights seriously enough that they would be appalled by the system of private justice developing here in America.
From the Constitution (6th Amendment):
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The preceding paragraph makes it clear that the intention was to provide a public, impartial forum for addressing crimes and grievances. Jason Hartman poses an obvious question: Why the pell mell dash to include mandatory arbitration in contracts and, through the growing power of a biased organization known as the American Arbitration Association, essentially turn loose the wolves of injustice on the American public?
Described on it’s website as “global leaders in conflict management,” one of their primary services is to provide arbitrators and mediators for hearings engendered by mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts. One would assume that serving as a sort of private judiciary would require a strict adherence to impartiality. It’s hard to reconcile that with the following leaked internal memo (thanks to Salon.com for this research).
Part of our marketing effort for 2000 will be to develop business contacts with corporations headquartered in Northern California. Meeting with corporate counsel and CEOs will allow us the opportunity to develop personal relationships and explore the use of ADR in their business. To accomplish this, I am asking for your help. If you have a contact with a corporation and you can make the introduction for us, please print your name next to the corporation listed … Allowing us to make a “warm” call will make the connection more meaningful. If you would like to make the call with us, please indicate it on the sheet.
Wow. That does not sound impartial to us. Woe be unto the poor sap who goes up against an AAA “client.” (Top image: Flickr | dullhunk)
The Holistic Survival Team