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Respectful Dialogue and Active Listening Encouraged at AGA Chair’s Initiative

By: Meghan Stoppel

On February 4 – 6, 2022, the Attorneys General Association and its Chair, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, convened the second installment of the Chair’s Initiative, formally titled, “The Ginsburg/Scalia Initiative: Towards a More Perfect Union Through Dialogue and Collaborative Problem Solving.” Held in Avon, Colorado, the Initiative opened with the attending AGs, from Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming, delivering messages in memoriam of North Dakota AG Wayne Stenehjem and a keynote address by Arthur Brooks, author of Love Your Enemies.

Panelists included state AGs, jurists, academics, and executives from Walmart, Chevron, Microsoft and Verizon, speaking on topics ranging from “The State of Our Politics” to “The Challenges of Moderated Online Content and Misinformation.” A number of speakers, including AGs of both parties, emphasized the importance of respectful dialogue, and how hearing different perspectives has improved the quality of their work. Other speakers stressed the danger presented by allowing contempt to seep into our politics, and shared personal stories illustrating the diversity of both their professional and personal relationships. As for the relationship between Justices Ginsburg and Scalia, according to Eugene Scalia, “they weren’t friends in spite of their differences but because of them” – which seemed a fitting commentary on which to end the weekend in Colorado.