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August 27, 2011

Modeling Discourse

Our first year students are in residence here at St. Thomas, a week before everyone else, and are undergoing an intensive orientation.

As part of that orientation, I participated in a fascinating exercise:  I debated one of my primary adversaries on an important sentencing issue, in order to model civil discourse for these new students. 

The subject was the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for juveniles.  I am against this sentence in all cases, while my opponent, Jeanne Bishop, is a proponent of its use in appropriate instances.  Her view is informed, in part, by the deaths of her pregant sister and brother-in-law, who were shot by a 16-year-old and is now serving that sentence.  In 2009, I testified in Congress opposite her sister, Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins.

To get a taste of the debate, you can hear an NPR report here, and see a television report here.


-- Mark Osler

August 27, 2011 | Permalink


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