Urban Poverty Conference Offers Insights and Some Bits of Hope

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Category: Marquette Law School, Milwaukee, Poverty & Law, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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“Urban Men in Poverty: Problems and Solutions” – that was the name of a morning-long conference at Eckstein Hall on Friday. Not surprisingly, the content of the gathering, which featured presentations from five professors from four universities, shed more light on the problems than the solutions. The problems are large and urgent, and good research illuminates them. The solutions are much more difficult to identify and implement.

That gave the conference a lot of content but a sobering tone. On the other hand, hope was present too.

For one thing, the fact that such a gathering occurred was a promising sign, Marquette University President Mike Lovell told the audience of more than 200. This was the first collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs and Marquette Law School. Lovell suggested this was an example of the kind of partnerships that are needed to create change.

“The only way we’re going to face and overcome the problems of urban men in poverty is by working together,” Lovell said. He said there are no easy answers. The problems related to urban men in poverty are rooted in events of decades. Solutions will not come quickly.  But, he said, he was excited so many people with serious interest gathered to show commitment to pursing solutions. Read more »

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Israel Reflections 2015 — The Elections

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public
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I know you are all bereft at the thought of the final Israel blog posts!  I’ll be sharing two from my students this week.  The first is on the Israeli elections.  Our trip was perfectly timed right before the Israeli elections and so we had already been learning about the different political parties in Israel and then seeing campaign posters all over the country.

Student Adam Marshall wrote about his experience:

“As a group of young soon-to-be lawyers, it was unbelievable to experience the last leg of a much-awaited election in Israel.   The country, after coming off of a brief war in the summer with its Palestinian neighbors, was eager to see if there would be a change in leadership or if everything would remain business as usual. While the Israeli election got sucked into the American media due to a congressional visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which sparked a trivial debate between Republicans and Democrats, there was much more meaning to the elections in Israel.

“New elections in Israel meant possible new leadership of the country, which could lead them either closer or further away from peace with Palestine. As a student who arrived in Israel with the goal of studying the conflict, it seemed apparent that this would be the most important talking point in the elections. However, I was shocked to learn that the conflict was in fact not the most important issue in the election. In the end, what seemed to have won Netanyahu his seat once again was his foreign policy, not in regards to Palestine, but rather on Iran’s nuclear program, which was the topic of his controversial speech in the U.S. It seems that the focus on social issues in Israel may have been one reason for the dramatic decline in votes for the Zionist Union [the more liberal party] in the election from what the polls showed.

“The belief going into the election was that the Zionist Union and Herzog would have a chance to beat Likud and Netanyahu, but this was not the case. Instead Likud won 30 seats and the Zionist Union was behind with 24. While talking with different Israeli citizens, this belief that Herzog had a chance of winning remained, even though it was Netanyahu’s face that I saw all over Israel. During our bus rides through the city there were always political ads outside of my window. Whether it was a poster on a light post, a picture on a bus stop, or a giant billboard, there were always political ads in sight. Most of the ads were for Netanyahu, and I presume that is because he had the most money for the campaign, or rather his party did. Israel has a proportional representation voting system so a party runs a list of people with their top politicians at the head of the list. Other parties were represented around the cities, but it was clear that Likud had more area covered.

“One reason why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may not have been a major issue in the election is that the people of Israel believe that politics remains a major roadblock to peace with Palestine. That is to say that, without the politicization of the conflict, there might actually be a peace agreement made. It seems to be that the split of political parties and the ever-changing party system creates a political scheme in which it is difficult to find peace. Unlike the U.S., Israel has a multi-party system, 10 of which make up the new Knesset after the elections. Parties change and make alliances after each election and this changes the political nature of the election.   If the parties were able to come together on their views regarding the conflict, there might be an actual peace agreement in the near future.

“It will be amazing to compare how my experience in Israel during their elections may be similar or different to my experience in the 2016 elections in the U.S. I assume it will be very different. I have a higher stake in the U.S. elections, and I can actually vote, but comparing campaigning styles and, more importantly, what issues are the most important will be very interesting. I will never forget my experience in Israel and the political culture there.”

We also visited the Knesset (shown below) and student Nate Hofman shared some details:Knesset

 

“On day three of the journey to Israel, our class was fortunate enough to get a tour of the Knesset. The courtyard was adorned with Israeli flags and a long walkway leading up to an impressive building. Unlike our domed capital building, the Knesset building is more rectangular with a flat roof. Once inside, our tour guide greeted us. Unfortunately, the Knesset was not in session because of the elections taking place a week from the time of our visit. We got to see a replica of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. It was written on a scroll, which seemed very Old Testament Israeli and perfectly fitting.

“The Knesset floor looks similar to the Congressional floor. The members sit in a semi circle facing the speaker on a raised podium. Above the 120 seats of the Knesset floor are two levels of viewing seats. The level closest to the floor, where we sat and listened, is used for invited guests and foreign dignitaries. The furthest from the floor is open for the public to view the Knesset.”

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Israel Reflections 2015–Day 7: Moty Cristal

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One of the most interactive and influential speakers during the trip was Moty Cristal, the CEO of Next Consulting. Having begun his career as one of Israel’s leading negotiators, Moty now conducts international negotiation trainings for the private sector. He made time to speak to us at the Rabin Center and his lesson was among the favorites of the trip.  As our last speaker of the trip, I knew Moty would be a great wrap-up!

Student Sean A. McCarthy recalls his experience:

Moty Cristal has become one of the leading negotiation experts in Israel and my class was fortunate enough to meet with him in Tel Aviv.  He had the class participate in an exercise that involved three people dividing up a large sum of money amongst each other. Each role (A, B, and C) was given a different amount of bargaining power and rules for reaching an agreement. Moty formula (2)If all three individuals were able to come to an agreement, they could split up $121 million. However, if A and B reached an agreement, they would split $110 million; if A and C reached an agreement, they would split $84 million; and if B and C reached an agreement, they would split $50 million.

As a member of the A group, I realized that I was going into the exercise with virtually all of the negotiating power.  I was also fairly confident that a deal would be reached and that I would be a member of the deal. Ultimately, I was able to agree with B to split the $110 million with $26 million going to B and $92 million going to myself. During the debrief, I noticed that A was a party to all of the agreements reached, except for one. Many of the groups talked about how difficult it was to take the power away from A. In relation to international conflict, Moty explained that A groups could, in almost every situation, include the excluded party without losing anything themselves. This viewpoint—that while the pie can be expanded, ultimately some sharing is required for an agreement to be reached—was one of the most important lessons I learned on the trip.

Student Alex Evrard provides a different viewpoint on the experience:

During the exercise, I was a member of Nation C.  Going into the negotiation with two much more powerful nations, I had little room to negotiate an agreement in which I was not the nation left out.  Although my two opponents were inclusive and included me in an agreement, my fellow Nation C negotiators were not as fortunate; many of them reported back that they were left out of the final agreement. Moty’s lesson focused on how to negotiate while in a powerless situation. He told the group a story about the only time C was ever able to gain all of the money. In that situation, C was able to persuade his group members to agree to a coin flip. His lesson to the powerless negotiator was to negotiate as if there were no power. Instead of focusing on coalitions and the use of power, focus on the process of the agreement and working toward a solution that can benefit everyone. This was a wonderful exercise that left an impression on a good number of the students.

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Israel Reflections 2015: Day 7 — The Rabin Center

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On the beginning of day seven of our trip (our last day!!), we visited the Rabin Center museum.  This museum commemorates the life and career of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin through telling the story of Israeli history.  And the view from the Center over Tel Aviv (pictured below) cannot be beat!

Student William Nash shares his personal reaction to the Rabin museum:

“We began our last day in Israel by visiting the Rabin Center Museum in Tel Aviv. It was a nice morning—warm, with an easy, steady breeze. Standing out on the balcony, we overlooked the rabin-centerTel Aviv skyline beaming just beneath the prominence of the late-morning Mediterranean sun. It was a picture of peace. But at the time I didn’t appreciate the profound character and meaning of the ambiance. To me, it was a reprieve from constant bustle of the trip. And it was the perfect opportunity to take some last-minute pictures. Read more »

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Armed Forces Appeals Judges Hear Arguments, Offer Advice in Eckstein Hall Session

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Category: Federal Law & Legal System, Judges & Judicial Process, Marquette Law School, Public
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“When you’re done, sit down.”

Pithy but important advice on how to present an oral argument to an appeals court was one of the beneficial things Marquette Law School students had a chance to hear Tuesday. That was when the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces convened for a session in Eckstein Hall, followed by a question and answer session with the court’s five judges.

The court, an Article I entity which hears oral arguments in about three dozen cases a year, heard oral arguments in the appeal of an Air Force staff sergeant, Joshua K. Plant. He was convicted in 2012 of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, adultery, and child endangerment and given a sentence that included 12 years of confinement. Included in Tuesday’s proceedings: Joshua J. Bryant, a third-year Marquette law student, who presented amicus curiae arguments in support of the sergeant’s appeal.​

First, here’s the case the court heard. Then, we’ll summarize some of the advice. Read more »

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Israel Reflections 2015 — Day 6: The Netanya Ethiopian Center

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Another portion of our cultural immersion was an invitation to the Netanya Foundation Ethiopian Center. An extremely rich cultural experience, the people at the Netanya Center shared traditional tea and bread-breaking with our group (shown below), as well as a tour of the facilities and resources available to the community. The Netanya Center was an experience that the students found incredibly impactful as they also reflected on community differences here in Milwaukee.

Student Katie Shaw shares her experience and her personal reflections:

“As part of our visit in Israel, we visited the Netanya Foundation Ethiopian Heritage Center, a community center located in Netanya that supports the local population of Ethiopian Jews, many of whom are first or second generation immigrants to Israel. Our guide throughout the Center was Avi, an Ethiopian Jew who traveled to Sudan to later migrate to Israel in 1984. Heidi, who works at the Ethiopian Heritage Center, helped translate from Hebrew to English for Avi. Read more »

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Marc Marotta

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The Marquette family — indeed, the Milwaukee community and the state more generally — lost one of its great leaders yesterday when Marc Marotta suddenly passed away. His death was jarring; he was only 52. Many people knew Marc far better than I, but I had the great fortune of getting to know him through our work together on the Board of Directors of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation for the past few years. In fact, I saw him on Tuesday morning at a board meeting, where he was his usual self: energetic, gregarious, and engaging … which made yesterday’s news even more incomprehensible.

My interest in this post is not to detail Marc’s many accomplishments; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel does a great job of it here (though no one article can truly do justice to the work and legacy of Marc Marotta). Instead, as our third-year students inch closer to graduation and becoming Marquette lawyers, I hope to highlight aspects of Marc’s life and career that are worth reflection by our students — indeed, by all of us in the profession — as they become lawyers and serve the public.

Marc was an excellent lawyer — just ask anyone with whom he worked. Read more »

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Israel Reflections 2015–Day Four: Dinner with Lawyers

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For dinner on our fourth night, we joined lawyers from the region around the Sea of Galilee for a meal and mingling.  Much thanks for the yummy food and company to the partnership between this region in Israel and Milwaukee that sets this up every year.   Many students built professional relationships during this meal, gleaned advice from practitioners and professors, and engaged in meaningful dialogue.

Student Lucas Bennewitz had a particularly thoughtful discussion:

 During our trip, we had dinner at a kibbutz in Tiberius with different Israeli attorneys practicing in different areas.  Both our stomach and our brains were stuffed to the brim that evening with both excellent food and lively discussions about Israeli law and politics.  While enjoying more hummus and rice than we could handle, we gained valuable insight on the nature of the Israeli legal system, heard some criticism from the Israeli lawyers about their current system, and compared the Israeli and the American legal systems.  We also discussed the role that legal internships play in the Israeli law school experience.  Read more »

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Israel Reflections 2015 — Day Four: Har Bental

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After our visit at Tzfat, we took a short bus ride into the northern hills to visit Har Bental, a lookout point on the edge of the Golan Heights. With a view into Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, we could all see the importance of geography.

Student Nicholas Sinram shares his experience:

One of the many great experiences on our International Conflict Resolution trip to Israel was our visit to Har Bental.  In addition to the salmon bagel lunch and the Druze fig jam, our excursion to Har Bental gave us the chance to experience the beauty and importance of the region.  The visit to Har Bental also gave us the unique opportunity to learn more about the conflicts throughout the Middle East, the role of the international community in the region, and how this situation affects Israel specifically. golan-picture

We had the amazing luck of running into two U.N. observers. They explained the roles of U.N. peacekeepers and observers. Read more »

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Congratulations to Marquette’s 2015 Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Teams

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Congratulations to 3Ls Ariel Dade and Keith Reese-Kelly for reaching the quarterfinals of the Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition regionals in Atlanta. 3Ls Brian Brockman and Nathan Cromer also competed, and Professor Kali Murray served as the teams’ faculty advisor. The teams were coached by Attorneys Ryann Beck, Garet Galster, and David Hanson. This year’s competition problem involved two issues: first, the proper definition of a claim, and second, the public availability status of a printed publication.

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Israel Reflections 2015: Dome of the Rock

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Dome of the RockWhile we were in Jerusalem, Sarah Farrukh, our Muslim student, was able to go visit the Dome of the Rock.  (Non-Muslims are generally not permitted to visit so this was an individual visit.) When she rejoined the group in the beautiful traditional garb, she was excited to share her story below:

Temple Mount is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.  Three monumental structures – al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Dome of the Chain – dominate the present site.  I had the opportunity to visit all three monuments.  Currently, only Muslims are allowed inside the complex.  I knew I may need to “prove” I am Muslim when I arrived.  I greeted the guards with the traditional greeting, “As-Salam Alaykum,” which means “Peace be upon you.”  They asked me whether I am Muslim as a formality.  Finally, a guard asked me to recite the heart of the Qur’an, which is Surah Al-Fatiha. The surah praises Allah and asks for his guidance.  I literally said the first two syllables, and the guard waved me in.

With its golden, glittering dome, the Dome of the Rock is hard to miss.  The shrine, built around the Foundation Stone, is covered in beautiful blue and white mosaics and Arabic calligraphy.  Because repairs are being made to the interior of the dome, I couldn’t see the stone itself, but I was able to touch a small portion of the stone around which a nook was built.  I also entered a cavern beneath the rock, called the Well of Souls.  The Dome of the Chain is a shaded prayer house next to the Dome of the Rock.  I actually did not know what it was or its religious and historical significance until after my visit.  Al-Aqsa Mosque sits on the southern end of Temple Mount.  The silver domed mosque is painted in rich, warm colors, and the architecture and arches are beautiful.  I offered prayers and read the Qur’an in both al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.  The sites were peaceful and relatively quiet.  I saw families and friends leisurely conversing, waiting for the call to the evening prayer.  As I was leaving, I heard the azan (call to prayer) for the evening prayer. I stopped and listened, but I was not able to join the communal prayer because I had to join the rest of my class at Hebrew University.  However, I am now motivated to return to Jerusalem, so I’m definitely going back!

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Israel Reflections 2015 (And Some April Fools Fun): The Kibbutz

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One of the ways we learned about Israeli society was to spend a few nights at a kibbutz.  A kibbutz is a collective community, traditionally based in agriculture, that was the way many Israelis used to live. Even though the kibbutz life was outside the comfort zones of some students initially, hanging out in the evenings together brought lots of laughs, memories, and a great development of our own class community.

Alexa Callahan shares one of her more humorous moments.

A kibbutz is an Israeli agricultural community where members live collectively amongst each other.  In Hebrew, Kibbutz means “gathering” and “clustering.”  We stayed at  Kibbutz Hukuk near Tiberius our third and fourth nights in Israel.  Upon arrival, the Kibbutz reminded me of summer camp.  We stayed three to a room and each group had their own individual quarters, which included three twin beds, one pillow each (Israelis must not use a lot of pillows, as there was a shortage of them throughout the whole trip), and a small bathroom that included a sink, toilet, and shower.  If you still cannot picture this Kibbutz, here is another analogy:  Have you seen “Lost”?  It is like the Dharma Initiative village, which made staying in the Kibbutz even better. Read more »

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