Michael Ashley Stein & Janet E. Lord, Jacobus tenBroek, Participatory Justice, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 13 Tex. J. on C.L. & C.R. 167 (2007).
Abstract: Writing with prescience, Professor Jacobus tenBroek eloquently argued mid-century on behalf of participatory justice for individuals with disabilities. Nothing “could be more essential to personality, social existence, [and] economic opportunity” he determined, “than the physical capacity, the public approval, and the legal right to be abroad in the land.” Some fifty years later, Professor tenBroek’s “right to live in the world” -- the ability of persons with disabilities to have equally meaningful contact with the population at large -- became a central feature of the values underlying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter CRPD, or Convention), the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, this Article explores the extent and manner that participatory justice animates the CRPD, first as a general matter and then specifically in reference to Article 30, the provision governing the o! bligations of States Parties to “[p]articipation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.” Part I sets forth Professor tenBroek’s jurisprudence in regard to participatory justice. Next, Part II highlights aspects of the Convention that are especially notable for their substantive and procedural inclusion of persons with disabilities and reflective of a deeply participatory model of justice that is consistent with Professor tenBroek’s vision. Part III illustrates these assertions by focusing on CRPD Article 30 and its mandate for inclusive cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport, and explains that provision’s practical significance for the worldwide community of persons with disabilities. We conclude with a few reflections on the Convention’s future impact as a vehicle for social change.