January 27, 2016

Cuba- The Spanish-Cuban-American War – Who Knew?

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Public
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(cross-posted from www.indisputably.org)

On our very first night in Cuba, we went to dinner at the famous Hotel Nacional.  The Hotel is gorgeous on a bluff overlooking the water, old, majestic, and impressive.  Here is a picture of all of us in the ballroom.  Everyone famous who has visited Cuba, comes to the Hotel and there are even pictures all around of the famous visitors (including a larger than life portrait of Hugo Chavez, not something that we are going to see here in the U.S.)  But the thing that really struck me was in the garden next to several old cannons.
(And here is a picture from the garden.)Cuba-hotel nacional

In commemoration of a battle, the plaque referred to the Spanish-Cuban-American War.  I knew of no such thing. Read more »

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January 26, 2016

After a Six-Year “Break,” Feingold Makes His Case for Returning to the Senate

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Category: Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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“The people of this state told me to take a break.”

But Russ Feingold wants the break to end, and he used an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Tuesday to convey his enthusiasm for winning a race for a United States Senate seat that is shaping up as one of the most significant in the country this year.

Feingold served as a Democrat in the Senate for 18 years before being defeated in 2010 by a Republican candidate who was then a newcomer to politics, Ron Johnson. This year’s race is slated to be a re-match between the two. The two differ sharply on a wide range of issues and the outcome could be a key to which party holds a majority in the Senate, come 2017.

Feingold conveyed to a capacity audience in the Appellate Courtroom of Eckstein Hall not only his enthusiasm for returning to office, but the consistency of his positions over the years, with a few adjustments and tweaks as he positions himself for the campaign. Read more »

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January 25, 2016

Professor Ghiardi

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Category: Marquette Law School, Public
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Head and shoulders portrait of Law School professor James Ghiardi.I remember Professor Jim Ghiardi with great fondness and respect. Jim was very welcoming to me when I joined the Marquette law faculty as the director of the National Sports Law Institute in 1999, and he made significant contributions to the development of the NSLI (and our Sports Law program) as a longtime member of its Board of Advisors and one of its strongest supporters. I always appreciated his periodic visits to my office to offer advice and suggestions about building their quality and reputations, which he conveyed with a big smile and a twinkle in his eye. He’s one of the pillars that established a solid foundation for the NSLI and our Sports Law program as well as Marquette Law School. May he rest in peace while his memory continues to inspire us.

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Metcalfe Fellow Calls for Renewed Pursuit of Martin Luther King’s Goals

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Category: Civil Rights, Poverty & Law, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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A grim assessment of current realities in central cities and some optimism about how things can and ultimately will get better.

That is what Sheryll Cashin, a professor of law at Georgetown University and Marquette University’s 2016 Ralph Metcalfe Fellow, offered in a talk last Thursday in the Appellate Courtroom of Eckstein Hall. The session was part of Marquette’s observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.

“The thing I liked about Dr. King is that he always appealed to our betters angels. I believe there are a lot of better angels out there,” Cashin said in response to a pessimistic question from an audience member.

“Change is inevitable,” she said. “Nothing is permanent.”  She urged people not to limit their imagination of a better future for the nation and for those whose lives now are shaped by “a nasty othering” at the hands of those with power and wealth.

Cashin, a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, focused on a set of lectures that Dr. King delivered in 1967 on Canadian public radio. She compared what King said then to circumstances now, saying little has improved in central cities, and some things have gotten worse. Read more »

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January 22, 2016

Professor Ghiardi—Some Recollections

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James Ghiardi stands at a podium, circa 1985Jim Ghiardi was larger than life. As Jim’s student, research assistant, colleague, and occasional golf partner, here are some recollections:

He was intimidating, commanding, and inspiring in the first-year torts course, where he could make 160 first-year students squirm in unison. He could also inspire truly extraordinary levels of class preparation (i.e., serious study of the law). Nearly a dozen of us would hang out with him after most classes in a semicircle around the podium, asking this or that, seeking a bit more from him, trying to impress him.

In his advanced torts and casualty insurance seminars, he was respectful, demanding, and encouraging. Many of us felt like associates in Jim’s law firm, with Jim acting as a mentor. He turned the class over to us, with carefully crafted assignments we were required to address orally and in writing. And pretty much everyone rose to the challenge and performed like a lawyer. Read more »

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January 21, 2016

Remembering James Ghiardi

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Head and shoulders portrait of Law School professor James Ghiardi.

I joined the Marquette University Law School faculty in 1992. Back then, it was traditional to start off the school year with a marathon faculty meeting the weekend prior to the start of classes. I dutifully showed up (I forget if it was a Saturday or a Sunday) and sat through the longest and most boring meeting of my life up to that point. Since joining academia, I am sad to say, I have subsequently attended longer and more boring meetings. Still, that particular meeting was a slog.

In any event, I sat quietly all day long and didn’t say a word. At the end of the meeting, Jim Ghiardi observed, in a loud voice for the benefit of the entire room, “I am so glad to see that our newest faculty member has the good sense to keep his mouth shut and listen for a while before sharing his opinions.” Wow. If that was how Professor Ghiardi treated junior faculty, I thought, I could only imagine how he terrorized his students.

After that meeting, I quickly determined that it would be a good idea to invite Jim to lunch. We met at the Alumni Memorial Union, where I asked Jim’s advice on how to be a successful law school teacher. I continued to keep my mouth shut and listen. We got along fabulously. Read more »

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January 19, 2016

Remembering Professor James Ghiardi

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Category: Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public

Law professor James Ghiardi stands at a podium and lectures to a class, circa 1985.

Law professor James Ghiardi stands at a podium and lectures to a class, circa 1985.

James D. Ghiardi, professor emeritus, passed away yesterday, at the age of 97. Jim was a Marquette lawyer, from our Class of 1942, and after service in World War II served as a member of our faculty, active or retired, for almost 70 years. From his first-year Torts course to his (somewhat) gentler approach with upper-level students, as I understand it, Professor Ghiardi was the legendary member of the Marquette Law School faculty for more than a generation. Professor Ghiardi enjoyed immense respect and esteem from Marquette lawyers—his former students.

Jim had retired by the time I arrived in 1997, but he remained a presence at the Law School until as recently as a few months ago. He was unfailingly gracious and supportive to me even before I became dean—indeed, from my earliest days on the faculty. I have been fortunate to count him among my colleagues and friends. At the same time, it seems appropriate to let speak here one of my predecessors as dean—indeed, one of Professor Ghiardi’s former students. Robert F. Boden wrote the following of Professor Ghiardi in 1971:

I first knew him when I was one of 160 terrified freshmen students entering Law School in the fall of 1949. As a student I came to respect him as a fine teacher. As a fellow member of the bar, a fellow Marquette alumnus, faculty colleague, and finally as his Dean, I have come to respect him as a gentleman and a scholar. Few are more zealous in their loyalty to the University and to the profession. Few also have the industry and capacity for work that manifests itself every day in Professor Ghiardi’s vigorous and devoted attention to the responsibilities which he has assumed in the Law School and in the many other related activities which he has undertaken.

In a quarter century of teaching of tort and insurance law, Professor Ghiardi has come to be recognized nationally as one of the academic leaders in this area of the law. Since 1962 he has served as Research Director of the Defense Research Institute, the national research and educational arm of the defense bar. He is often called upon to address legal organizations throughout the country in the field of his expertise, and his long record of publication in the leading bar journals of the country is a further manifestation of his accomplishments in legal scholarship.

Dean Boden made these remarks in the context of dedicating, on behalf of the student editors, a volume of the Marquette Law Review to Professor Ghiardi. The dedication, which also notes Professor Ghiardi’s unusual service as the president of the Wisconsin bar, may be read here.

It concludes by expressing “certain[ty] in the fact that [Professor Ghiardi] will continue for many more years to reflect the highest ideals of his University and his profession.” Dean Boden was right to be so certain in his remarks nearly forty-five years ago. The loss of Jim Ghiardi now diminishes us, but his work and life magnified us—and as a legacy will continue to do so. Requiescat in pace.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 24th at Feerick Funeral Home, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. A visitation will also be held starting at 9:30 AM on Monday, January 25th, followed by the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial at the Church of the Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave. at 10:30 AM. Committal Services and Military Honors will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery, 7301 W. Nash, after the Mass. A lunch will follow at 1:30 PM at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago Ave.

 Memorials in Jim’s name may be made to the Marquette University Law School, (James D. Ghiardi and Phyllis A. Ghiardi Scholarship Fund), or to the Milwaukee Catholic Home (Employee Fund).


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Cuba – Yes The Cars Are Amazing

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Public
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(Cross-posted from www.indisputably.org)

cuba-seminary-front-green-car-e1453233240472So we all returned safely home this weekend and I look forward to blogging soon.  Truly an amazing trip of contradictions–gorgeous old cars and baroque buildings mixed with decrepit infrastructure.  Total candor on economic and planning needs and nothing on any political change…ever.  Just fascinating.  Much more to come but, given the first day of classes today, here’s a start of the pictures of the beautiful cars.  (Ed. note: click “Read More” for additional photos). Read more »

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January 13, 2016

Transparency in Government Includes the Judiciary

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Category: Judges & Judicial Process, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System
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Sun_and_Moon_Nuremberg_chronicleThe following commentary appears in this week’s Wisconsin Law Journal:

Transparency is the core value of a democratic society. In a democratic self-government, voters have the power to select and reject those who will wield the power of government.

The power of the vote is only meaningful if the voters have information upon which to act. This is where transparency in government comes in.

In the case of the governor, the voters need to know whether their tax dollars are being steered towards political donors and whether state resources are being used to advance partisan political purposes. This is why the prospect of executive-branch officials communicating through private emails, and taking other steps to hide the true reasons for executive decisions from the public, is so troubling.

In the case of the state Legislature, the voters need to know whether lawmakers are exercising their power independently. Our representatives in the state legislature shouldn’t act as mere conduits for self-serving laws drafted by special-interest groups. Wisconsin was a leader, through the creation of the Legislative Reference Bureau in 1901, in our nation’s history in insisting that legislators draft their own laws.

The role of our state judges, in enforcing the value of transparency in government, is vital. This role has two components. First, it is essential that our state judges enforce transparency on the other two branches of state government. Second, our state judges must comply with the need to be transparent within their own judicial branch. Read more »

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January 12, 2016

Don’t Fear Numbers

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Category: Legal Education, Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public
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RIskOver the last several years in Law School, I’ve learned that many of my peers are averse to math. In Prof. Anzivino’s Business Bankruptcy class I distinctly remember painful groans as he explained the time value of money and had the class look at a simple amortization table. In Prof Grossman’s Business Strategy course, I had a friend lean over to me and ask, “What the hell is a balance sheet?” Basic accounting and finance concepts seem to be like nails on chalk board for many law school students. Don’t fear numbers; basic accounting and finance skills can help distinguish your resume from other law school graduates and build better relationships with future clients.

Lawyers should have a basic understanding of a balance sheet, income and cash flow statements.

A balance sheet identifies the assets of an organization and how those assets were financed, either through debt [using someone else’s money] or through equity [using the owner’s money]. For those who are interested in doing M&A, a thorough understanding of a balance sheet is critical. For example, the ability to identify and discuss financial reserves [such as, those related to environmental remediation] can help you to identify, understand, and highlight risk for your client. An entity’s balance sheet also provides an understanding of an operation’s well-being: trends in cash, inventory, revenue producing equipment, receivables, payables, debt equity ratio and retained earnings [to name a few]. It’s also important to understand the relationship between these elements; it’s called a balance sheet for a reason. Read more »

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January 7, 2016

Is Wisconsin’s public trust doctrine eroding?

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Category: Environmental Law, Public, Water Law
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Environmental law is of relatively recent vintage.  Most of its significant principles date from the 1960s or later, with a few notable exceptions.  The latter category includes the public trust doctrine.  As the name suggests, the doctrine is generally taken to mean that a state must act as “trustee” of certain natural resources, particularly the navigable waters of the state, and manage them for the trust beneficiaries—its people.  public trustThe doctrine can be traced back to ancient Roman law. The “Institutes of Justinian,” compiled in the Sixth Century A.D., provided:

“By the law of nature these things are common to mankind—the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea. No one, therefore, is forbidden to approach the seashore, provided that he respects habitations, monuments, and buildings . . . .”

In this country, the United States Supreme Court recognized the doctrine in its 1892 decision in Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Illinois,[1] as detailed by Marquette Law School Dean Joseph Kearney in a 2004 article.  The doctrine has since evolved into many different strains of varying strength primarily governed by state common law.  Here in Wisconsin, it is rooted in the Article IX, § 1 of the state constitution, which itself borrowed heavily from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.  Over a hundred years ago, in Diana Shooting Club v. Husting, the Wisconsin Supreme Court described the doctrine as preserving to the people “full and free use of public waters,”[2] and the Wisconsin Legislature has delegated the resulting regulatory authority to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  As recently as 2011, in Lake Beulah Management District v. DNR, the Wisconsin Supreme Court expansively interpreted the doctrine as a valid basis for DNR to consider whether to grant, conditionally grant, or deny a high capacity well permit based on the well’s impact on other waters of the state.[3]

However, several recent developments highlighted by a legislative hearing earlier this week seem to indicate that in Wisconsin, unlike other states, the relative strength of the public trust doctrine is ebbing. Read more »

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January 5, 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors

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Category: Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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The Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition is the appellate moot court competition for Marquette law students and is the capstone event of the intramural moot court program.  Students are invited to participate based on their top performance in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy course at the Law School. 

Congratulations to the participants in the 2016 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition:

Barry Braatz
David Conley
Robert Copley
Samuel Draver
Isabelle Faust
Alexis Guraz
Christopher Hayden
Ashley Heard
Amber Horak
Megan Kaldunski
Alexandra Klimko
Alicia Kort
Jessica Lothman
Alan Mazzulla
Kayla McCann
Sara McNamara
Andrew Mong
Brittany Running
Rexford Shield
Amardeep Singh
Emily Tercilla
Natalie Wisco
Samuel Woo
Kiel Zillmer


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