Wisconsin: The Final Firework in the Antislavery Legal Movement

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Category: Legal History, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System
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Lemuel Shaw

Mass. Chief Justice
Lemuel Shaw

This is the fourth in a series of Schoone Fellowship Field Notes.

Putting Wisconsin’s antislavery heritage in perspective. Wisconsin takes great pride in its antislavery heritage, particularly the Northwest Ordinance (1787), which ensured that Wisconsin would be a free state, and the Booth Cases (1854, 1859), in which Wisconsin stood alone in defying the federal government’s attempt to turn northerners into slavecatchers. This pride is justified but needs perspective. When Wisconsin arrived on the American stage as a new state (1848), American slavery was two centuries old and the legal reaction against slavery had been underway for 70 years. The Booth Cases were important, but they were merely the final fireworks in the drama of American law and slavery. Read more »

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Learning Outcomes: Consistently Developing Predictably Competent Graduates

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Category: Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public
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DiplomaConsistency and predictability—these are two principles that I have come to appreciate during my first year of law school. Schedule—predictable, every Tuesday/Thursday, 5:30-9:00. Exams—unpredictable, but consistently challenging. Reading—consistent onslaught of interesting, yet challenging cases.

In the majority of the prescribed 1L courses, stare decisis has been discussed as one doctrine that helps the court gain credibility by producing predictable decisions. This doctrine has sparked a few observations about consistencies and inconsistencies with respect to the law—observations that warrant reflection.

In the upcoming month, I look forward to sharing these not-so-fleeting thoughts with you as a student blogger for March. Read more »

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Same-Sex Marriage Referendums: Major Metropolitan Areas Out of Step With Less Populated Regions

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Category: Election Law, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public
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In most states same-sex marriage has become the law of the land by judicial decision. In a smaller number, the institution has been recognized by acts of the state legislature. Although there were numerous public referendums attempting to ban same sex marriage before 2008, in recent years only twice have the voters of a state had the opportunity to vote directly on the recognition of marriages between individuals of the same gender.

Both opportunities came in November 2012, as voters in Maryland and Washington State confirmed their state’s recognition of a new definition of marriage. However, both episodes revealed a sharp divide between the majority views of those who live in major metropolitan areas and those who live in less densely populated areas.

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Welcome to Our March Blogger

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lionOur September guest blogger with be 1L Jessica Lothman. Jessica is originally from Springfield, Illinois, but now considers herself a local. She is in her second year of the part-time program, is interested in public interest law, education law, and immigration law, and is an avid photographer. Many thanks to our previous guest, 1L Lauren Koehler.

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Tell Me a Story

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Category: Legal Education, Legal Writing, Public
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Little_Red_Riding_Hood_WPA_posterOnce upon a time . . .

I started my last post with those same four words, so I hope you’ll forgive me the repetition. They’re good words for a beginning (though perhaps not in a piece of legal writing!). But why are they such good words to start with? I could wax poetic about creating a sense of nostalgia for a time long past, where wonderful things were possible . . . but that’s not it. They’re good words for a beginning because we all know what comes after them: a story.

Stories are powerful things. For millennia, human beings have told each other stories. We pass down knowledge and wisdom, warnings and inspiration to each other through tales. Myths from cultures all over the world and all throughout history were created to explain natural phenomena, and to try to answer questions about the deeper meaning of human existence. Folk tales and fables teach lessons about hubris and humility, social values and the dangers of greed and other vices. In the Christian Bible, Jesus teaches using parables that will be familiar to anyone who went to Sunday School—the mustard seed, the prodigal son. Why? Isn’t it easier to say, for instance, “Don’t be too greedy!” than to tell the story of King Midas? Read more »

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Early Wisconsin Law: A New York State of Mind

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Chancellor James Kent

Chancellor James Kent

This is the third in a series of Schoone Fellowship Field Notes.

Legal cross-currents among states. Measuring the legal influence states have on each other is an intriguing but difficult task. Some scholars have approached the task by measuring the number of times a state’s supreme court decisions are cited in other states. Typically they have used these numbers to rank each state and have left it there. Little consideration has been given to regional variations in influence or changes in influence over time, or to the fact that judges rely on legal treatises as well as other courts’ decisions.

I have gone further, measuring case and treatise citations at 20-year intervals from 1800 to 1860. The book I am writing as part of the Schoone Fellowship will present these results in full. New York, as expected, was the most influential state but, surprisingly, American courts also relied heavily on English cases heavily until the 1840s. The numbers present a striking picture of America’s increasing reliance on its own law: Read more »

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Some Perspective from Five Marquette Lawyers Who Are General Counsel

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Category: Corporate Law, International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Practice, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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You are the general counsel of a large corporation. Your company is involved in negotiations to buy a competitor and there are layers upon layers of complexity and risk. Is a lawsuit against the competitor a deal-killer or no big deal? Why is a key employee of the other company about to bolt for a third company? Business for your own company has been slipping. Do you need this deal to save your company or will the deal wreck what you do have? The questions—and the pressure—build.

Ray Manista, Cari Logemann, Paul Dacier, Julie Van Straten, and Frank Steeves in Eckstein Hall’s Appellate Room

Ray Manista, Cari Logemann, Paul Dacier, Julie Van Straten, and Frank Steeves in Eckstein Hall’s Appellate Room

Paul Dacier, L’83, outlined the scenario before a capacity audience in the Appellate Courtroom of Eckstein Hall on Feb. 20, and as he did so, he asked members of the audience how they would handle each step.

As Dacier’s story comes to a head: The CEO calls you into his office. “It’s just the two of you in the room and the CEO is sweating bullets,” Dacier says. He wants to know what you as general counsel recommend.

Read more »

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Congratulations to Marquette’s 2015 Jessup Team

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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JessupCongratulations to 3Ls Xheneta Ademi, Tyler Nash, Frank Remington, and Patrick Winter for reaching the quarterfinals of the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Midwest Regionals in Chicago this past weekend.  In its 56th year, the Jessup Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious moot court competitions.  The Midwest region is comprised of 21 teams.  Our Marquette team went 3 and 1 to advance to the quarterfinal rounds.

Attys. and Marquette Law alumni Juan Amado (Jessup, 2011), Matt Tobin (Jessup, 2014) and Drew Walgreen (MU moot court, 2013), as well as Professors Megan A. O’Brien and Ryan Scoville served as team advisors.  This year’s Jessup problem involved treaty interpretation in light of a claim of fundamental change in circumstances; a state’s use of countermeasures in response to an alleged breach; and, procedural and substantive issues resulting from a seccessionist movement.  Congratulations, again, to our MU Law School team for their tremendous effort in tackling these complex international law issues.

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Archbishop Explains the Pope’s Approach to Opposing Abortion

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Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki says, “Until I die, I will be supportive of pro-life efforts.” But does he understand what Pope Francis meant when he said that the Catholic Church was obsessed with issues such as abortion?

Yes, he said, during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall on Monday. The pope, he said, was not talking about the “rightness of the issue” and the church’s opposition to abortion. He was talking about how you spread the church’s message and bring people in.

Speaking of those who are particularly intent on the church’s fighting abortion, Listecki told Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, “These are my friends. Do they sometimes give me heartburn? Yes, they do.” The way the church’s position is articulated by some can push people away, and that was what Pope Francis meant, the archbishop said.  Read more »

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Prisoner Enfranchisement in Ireland

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Election Law, Human Rights, Prisoner Rights, Public
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I was surprised to learn recently from an Irish law professor that Ireland gave its prisoners the right to vote in 2006. Felon disenfranchisement is such a pervasive fact of life in the United States that many Americans might assume, as I did, that this is the accepted practice everywhere. This turns out not to be the case. Ireland is hardly alone, even among the common-law countries, in giving prisoners the right to vote, although the case of Ireland may be unusual in that its legislature acted in the absence of a court directive. Canada and South Africa, by contrast, required court rulings before their prisoners were enfranchised. The Irish story is nicely recounted in an article by Cormac Behan and Ian O’Donnell: “Prisoners, Politics and the Polls: Enfranchisement and the Burden of Responsibility,” 48 Brit. J. Criminology 319 (2008).

Before proceeding with the Irish story, a little on the American situation:   Read more »

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Lighting Out for the Territories

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Judge James Doty

Judge James Doty

This is the second in a series of Schoone Fellowship Field Notes.

Territorial judges: an overlooked force in American law. As Willard Hurst observed, during the past 150 years lawyers have been implementers rather than creators of law. We whose days are spent staring at a screen and poring over paperwork sometimes wish we could take a way-back machine to the days of legal creationism, if only for a little while. Yet an important group of creators—judges appointed from Washington, starting in the 1780s, to establish the law in America’s far-flung, largely unsettled new territories—are nearly forgotten today. Territorial judges were often, in the words of the French observer Achille Murat, “the refuse of other tribunals” or seekers after sinecures, and if they are remembered at all it is as much for their escapades as for their jurisprudence. But some of the territorial judges, including Wisconsin’s James Doty, stand out in American political and legal history, and the vital contributions they made to institutionalizing American law are often overlooked. The book being written under the Schoone Fellowship’s auspices will attempt to remedy that. Read more »

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Paul Taylor: A Positive Look at Big Changes in America’s Population and Sociology

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The title of Paul Taylor’s recent book refers to “a looming generational showdown” as America changes. But Taylor, a senior fellow at the Pew Research Center in Washington, didn’t strike a particularly ominous tone as he described what lies ahead during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” session at Eckstein Hall on Tuesday.

There were three reasons for that. First, Taylor described himself as “a glass half-full guy,” generally inclined to be optimistic. Second, he said America has dealt successfully with many challenges in its history. And third, he said the foremost challenge – how a big surge in Social Security and Medicare benefits for retirees will be supported by the workforce of a few years from now – can be handled successfully if Congress and the president are willing to do so.

In his book, “The Next America: Boomers, Millenials and the Looming Generational Showdown,” and in his conversation in the Appellate Courtroom, Taylor gave a wide-ranging, insightful, and occasionally light-hearted tour of big changes in the demographics of America. Read more »

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