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Consensus and Global Environmental GovernanceDeliberative Democracy in Nature's Regime$
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Walter F. Baber and Robert V. Bartlett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028738

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028738.001.0001

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The Citizen Jury as a Deliberative Forum

The Citizen Jury as a Deliberative Forum

Juries as Instruments of Democracy

(p.105) 6 The Citizen Jury as a Deliberative Forum
Consensus and Global Environmental Governance

Walter F. Baber

Robert V. Bartlett

The MIT Press

Deliberative panels are commonly criticized as both too subject to irrationality and excessively rational, and as producing substantively inferior results compared with more elite decision making. Each of these complaints has also been leveled at real world legal juries in civil and criminal cases, and there is an extensive base of research evaluating their merit. Jury irrationality generally refers to poorly reasoned biases being magnified or too little challenged in deliberation, a phenomenon that can be avoided or mitigated using sophisticated techniques. Excessive rationality is alleged to occur as a result of imposing a rationalistic framework with its own blind spots and unresponsive to the concerns of the underrepresented and disadvantaged, which requires ongoing attention to the diversity of juries. In the case of juristic democracy, panel diversity is under the control of facilitators, who also can even create majority minority panels composed of individuals whose perspectives and opinions might otherwise be neglected. The evidence from research on real world legal juries suggests that citizen juries often reach the same results as judges and do as well as knowledgeable professionals such as judges in processing scientific evidence and evaluating expert witnesses.

Keywords:   Deliberative, Juries, Rationality, Biases, Disadvantaged, Underrepresented, Diversity, Judges, Experts, Citizens

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