February 12, 2015

22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–Live Auction Items

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AuctionThe 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer. Here are this year’s wonderful live auction items:

L1—Bowling with Dean Kearney and Mike Gousha

Six students will have the priceless opportunity to join Dean Kearney and Mike Gousha as members of their faculty bowling team for the ever-popular “Bowling with Faculty” annual competition. On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, all faculty bowling teams will enjoy a group dinner together at a local restaurant followed by an evening of fiercely competitive bowling. This auction item includes dinner and cocktails, bowling, and an evening of unparalleled fun as the faculty teams battle each other for the championship of this year’s competition.  Value: Priceless Donors: Dean Kearney and Mike Gousha

L2—Reclaimed Beauty

Make an environmental statement and show off your sense of style with this one-of-a-kind reclaimed wooden cabinet.  Value: $850. Donors: Pam and Mike Ceccato and Steinhafels

L3—Toss This!

Show your Marquette spirit by purchasing this MU-Themed Cornhole Set. All included items are homemade—from the bean bags to the boards themselves. Don’t show up to another tailgate or summer picnic without this incredible item. MU Rah Rah!  Value: Priceless Donors: Tyler Coppage and Family

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February 11, 2015

22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with Katherine Seelow

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Category: Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public
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Katherine SeelowThe 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Katherine Seelow, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS fellow.  Besides her work as a PILS fellow, Katherine is helping to organize this year’s auction.

Where did you work as a PILS fellow?

I was lucky enough to be a fellow twice-over.  First, I worked for the Milwaukee Justice Center. Next, I worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, in the Felony Trial Division.

What kind of work did you do there?

At the Milwaukee Justice Center I worked the Family Law Help Desk, helping the pro-se litigants with a wide variety of family law issues fill out the appropriate paperwork. Additionally I was able to conduct research on family law issues and participate in tracking the progress of MJC clients. At the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office,  I was assigned to a trial team and helped them organize discovery on felony, criminal cases. I was also able to appear on the record under the 711 Student Practice Rule.

How was the experience meaningful to you?

My experience at the MJC was meaningful to me because it gave me great experience working with clients, one-on-one, which is not something you often get to do as a rising 2L. My experience as a Law Clerk with the Cook County State’s Attorney was meaningful because I got to prepare and handle cases on the record.

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February 10, 2015

Paul Ryan Speaks Well of Obama — on One Issue

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Category: Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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Kind words for Democratic President Barack Obama from Rep. Paul Ryan, a leading figure in the Republican Party and chair of the House Ways and Means Committee?

Yes – but on only one subject, the pursuit of trade agreements with countries in Europe and Asia. And a you might include tax reform, where there may be some room for bipartisan cooperation, Ryan said.

In an “On the Issue with Mike Gousha” session at Eckstein Hall on Monday, Ryan discussed a wide range of subjects, from his thoughts on fighting poverty to Obama’s handling of foreign policy (no kind words on that score) to Ryan’s decision not to run for president in 2016. Read more »

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Has Wisconsin Produced Any Great Judges?

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Category: Judges & Judicial Process, Legal History, Public, Wisconsin Supreme Court
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winslow

Chief Justice
John B. Winslow

As announced this past summer, Joseph A. Ranney is serving as Marquette Law School’s Schoone Visiting Fellow in Wisconsin Law and using the occasion to write a book examining the role states have played in the evolution of American law, with a focus on the contributions made by Wisconsin. In a series of blog posts this semester, Professor Ranney will offer some Schoone Fellowship Field Notes. This is the first.

What makes a great judge? Who are the great state judges? Thousands of judges have helped build the edifice that is American state law. Only a few have received great acclaim. What are the elements of judicial greatness, and has Wisconsin produced any great judges? Let me consider the matter, excluding any current or recent judges. Read more »

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22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with Nicole Ostrowski

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Nicole OstrowskiThe 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Nicole Ostrowski, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS fellow.  Besides her work as a PILS fellow, Nicole is helping to organize this year’s auction.

Where did you work as a PILS fellow?

I worked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office–Milwaukee Trial Division, both this past summer and the summer between my 1L and 2L year as a PILS fellow.

What kind of work did you do there?

I mainly worked on misdemeanor cases and did anything and everything with the cases I was assigned, including preparing for a jury trial that unfortunately did not go. I was very fortunate in my fellowships because I was able to get a lot of hands on experience with clients, including visits to the jail by myself! My time with the Public Defender has helped me learn what it’s like to actually be an attorney in practice, as opposed to simply learning how to think and write like an attorney, as we’re taught in law school.

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February 6, 2015

Vaccination Uproar

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Category: Family Law, Health Care, Public
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MeaslesDuring the past month, the American public has been bombarded with news reports about a continuing measles epidemic, as well as an extensive debate about whether measles vaccinations should be required to stop this epidemic and prevent future ones from developing.

In fact, all states require vaccinations against many contagious diseases, including measles. But there are exceptions, and the exceptions are broader in some states than others. Only a handful of states limit exceptions to medical necessity – for example, a child whose immune system is compromised by chemotherapy should not receive immunizations. Most states allow religious exemptions, so parents who are, for example, Christian Scientists need not vaccinate their children in contravention of their religious beliefs. However, about a third of the states, including Wisconsin, also allow much broader exemptions based on “conscience” or “philosophical reasons.” These broader exemption categories often can be invoked with little or no effort on a parent’s part, such as by checking a box on a form and signing it, and thus have the potential to erode the requirement if enough people choose not to vaccinate.

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February 5, 2015

Kill Your Darlings

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Category: Legal Writing, Public
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Once upon a time, I wrote the most beautiful sentence. It was clever, nicely worded, and I loved looking at it. Each time I re-read it, I felt a surge of pride. “I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word,” Emily Dickinson once wrote. “Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” As I read my sentence for possibly the hundredth time, I understood what Emily was talking about. My sentence shone.

As I edited my memo, perhaps a week later, I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and reminded myself, Kill your darlings. I highlighted my beautiful sentence, and hit delete.

“Kill your darlings”: a bit of advice that is (or should be) given to aspiring writers everywhere, handed down like the word of God from experienced writers, professors, and editors. Attributed to any number of famous names, the original quote probably came from a series of Cambridge lectures by Arthur Quiller-Couch in the early 1900s, but its provenance isn’t the source of its popularity. Rather, it remains popular advice because it results, in almost every case, in better writing.

Legal writing and creative writing are very different beasts in many respects, and it may seem counter-intuitive to apply this bit of literary wisdom in the legal sphere. Creative writing, after all, concerns itself with things like characterization and plot and atmosphere. Legal writing is concerned with rules and logical analysis. And yet, just like the rules of grammar, the concept of killing your darlings remains sound.

Killing your darlings doesn’t just mean, as in the case of my poor sentence, eliminating turns of phrase that you’re particularly proud of. In legal analysis, your darlings may take the form of a bit of clever reasoning that actually does nothing to strengthen your overall argument, or a stylish word choice that ends up distracting a reader from your meaning. Killing your darlings is, in many ways, about sacrificing your personal taste on the altar of the reader.

As you read through your draft, pay particular attention to the portions of it that seem to shine, and look at them with a critical eye rather than a satisfied smile. Does it clarify your point? Does it flow with the rest of your writing, or does it stick out like a jagged rock in a stream? Is it flowery and slightly pretentious, like that terrible rock metaphor I just used? Are you struggling to make the rest of the sentence, paragraph, or section fit around it?

If your answer is yes, then it may be time to grit your teeth, take a deep breath, and hit delete. Your readers will thank you for it.

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Welcome to Our February Blogger

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ValentinesdaytreeDue to an unavoidable last-minute cancellation, we’re a few days late rotating out our guest bloggers, but I’m delighted to announce that 1L Lauren Koehler has agreed to step in on short notice as our February guest blogger.  Lauren was born and raised in Michigan, got her B.A. in English from Boston University, and is interested in real estate law. She is an avid hockey fan. A belated thanks to our previous guest, 2L Vanessa Richmond.

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Mission Week Expert Describes Progress and Problems on Global Water Issues

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Great progress has been since 1990 in making clean water available to hundreds of millions of people, but there remains great need to extend that progress to hundreds of millions more, a leading figure in such efforts said Thursday at Marquette Law School.

As part of Mission Week at Marquette University, Vanessa Tobin spoke with Mike Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program. Tobin is senior technical advisor for water supply, sanitation, and water resources for Catholic Relief Services. She worked for 24 years for UNICEF on dealing with these needs and others around the world before joining Catholic Relief Services in December, 2011.

Tobin said that for people in nations such as the United States or her native England, “we take our hygiene and sanitation for granted. . . . These are luxuries in many countries.” For about 750 million people, primarily low-income residents of  sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, unpolluted water is not available and poor sanitary conditions affect the health of millions of people, particularly children five and under. Read more »

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January 31, 2015

Figure Skating and Law School

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414px-2011_World_Figure_Skating_Championships_(12)Throughout my childhood, I have loved figure skating with a passion and vigor that rivals no other. Although I no longer compete, I enjoyed watching the United States Figure Skating Championship this past weekend because it demonstrated the hard work necessary to succeed. As a result, I now reflect on the valuable skills figure skating has taught me in relation to law school. Bear with me in my attempt to relate something I love with something I have a growing appreciation of. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned from this weekend:

  • Nerves and self-doubt can derail a great performance. Figure skaters train for years and on a daily basis for just minutes on the ice. Unfortunately, even the best training is futile when a skater encounters nerves that prevent them from performing to their best ability. I liken this to the hours of studying necessary to succeed on a three hour law school exam. If one succumbs to self-doubt on test day, then those hours of studying will not be reflected on the exam. It is necessary to believe in your abilities.

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January 29, 2015

Court of Appeals Upholds Dismissal of Sing-Along Citation

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Category: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Public
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Woody_Guthrie_NYWTSToday the Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a citation issued to a “solidarity singer,” one of the participants in the ongoing State Capitol Sing-a-Long in which the participants sing songs protesting Governor Walker’s policies.  The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the citation by the Circuit Court, agreeing with the lower court that the permitting policy instituted by the Walker Administration unconstitutionally infringes on the First Amendment rights of individuals and small groups to engage in protests in the Capitol Building.  The decision of the Court of Appeals can be read in its entirety here.  Today’s ruling is unsurprising.  I argued that an earlier version of the permitting policy was unconstitutional a little over three years ago, in a post on the Faculty Blog that can be read here.  Reading the flimsy legal arguments put forth by the State in defense of the policy before the Court of Appeals (and I do not use the word “flimsy” lightly), I remain baffled as to why the Walker Administration would spend so much time and money in pursuing a permitting policy that so obviously conflicts with established First Amendment precedent.  While the Walker Administration typically rushes to appeal contrary judicial rulings to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, confident of receiving a sympathetic hearing from that body, I suggest that they think long and hard before appealing today’s ruling.

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January 28, 2015

MPS Is at a “Tipping Point,” Driver Tells Law School Audience

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Category: Education & Law, Milwaukee Public Schools, Public
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The Milwaukee Public Schools system is “at a tipping point” where improvements in how the system is run and a strong base of community support need to lead to better overall academic achievement for students, the new superintendent of MPS, Darienne Driver, said Wednesday.

Speaking at an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall, Driver said, “We have to get results.” But she said MPS is going through a lot of transitions that are helping make schools poised to do that.

But Driver, who became superintendent Oct. 1, spoke a short time after two influential Republican legislators in Madison released the outlines of a plan to deal with poverty in Milwaukee that could see control of some low-performing schools taken from MPS and given to independent charter schools. The ideas floated by Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Dale Kooyenga suggest the tough time MPS is likely to have in the current legislative session.

Driver said the ideas from Darling and Kooyenga “really get away from the investment we should be making in our public schools.” She said it could be “devastating” to schools that would be closed and re-opened. The idea of creating something similar to the Recovery School District in New Orleans, which the legislators suggested, is a distraction that would not yield good results overall, Driver said. Read more »

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