[For Black History Month, we invited some of our alumni to provide their reflections as guest bloggers of the month. This post is from Emil Ovbiagele L’14.]
The American story is an unfolding tale. A rich and diverse story still being crafted. There are chapters we ought to celebrate with fervent praise. There are pages where it hurts to look. And most importantly, there are more exciting narratives yet to be fully told.
An Information Session for the Law School’s Study Abroad programs will take place in Room 257 on Tuesday February 18, 2020 from 12:00 pm-1:00pm.
The Law School has several study abroad opportunities where students earn academic credit while studying overseas. These programs provide students with the chance to learn, have fun, and make friends from all over the world.
Don’t believe me? Watch this video summary of the 2019 Summer Session in Giessen, Germany:
Please attend the Information Session on February 18 if you are interested in attending the 2020 Summer Session in Giessen, Germany or if you are interested in participating in one of the Law School’s semester long exchange programs in Spain, France or Denmark.
Information will be provided to the attendees and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
2019 was a memorable year for those interested in Wisconsin’s water resources. During his January 2019 “State of the State” address, Governor Tony Evers declared it the “Year of Clean Drinking Water in Wisconsin,” making water a primary focus of his first year in office. Around the same time, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced the creation of a water quality task force to study water contamination issues. Shortly thereafter, I wrote a post describing a shorthand “top ten” list of issues for the administration and the task force to consider. In no particular order, my list included lead laterals, PFAS and other emerging contaminants, nutrient pollution, groundwater contamination and private wells, Great Lakes diversions, CAFO regulation, the DNR, infrastructure, high capacity wells and groundwater drawdown, and wetlands protection.
But now 2020 has arrived. What were the tangible results of the “Year of Clean Drinking Water”? Many promising efforts are underway and the state has made significant progress in some areas, but much remains to be done. The Governor’s declaration and the Speaker’s task force brought much needed public attention to water quality issues, but it would be a shame if that intense focus fades with the turning of the calendar. Governor Evers recognizes this, admitting in a recent interview that he knows the work will take much more than a year. And he expects Wisconsinites to support it in the longer term: “People like to have clean drinking water,” he said. “Who doesn’t want it? Who doesn’t need it?” Yet in his 2020 “State of the State” address Evers mentioned water only once, a late reference to “getting PFAS out of our water” as part of a list of things yet to be accomplished.
Here are the specifics of what happened last year:
This Friday, January 24, 2020, hundreds of thousands of people will gather in Washington D.C. for the 47th annual March for Life. This year’s theme for the March for Life is “Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” Last year’s March for Life invited additional news coverage thanks to a video that depicted Nick Sandmann, a high school student, smiling at a Native American elder as the elder beat a drum in front of the student. This initial video made it seem as if the student was mocking the elder. In the wake of this viral video and the news coverage that ensued, there was an immense backlash against the student and his high school. I recall seeing posts on social media listing the email addresses of the school’s administrators encouraging people to flood their inboxes with less than courteous emails expressing disapproval of their student’s behavior.
However, later video evidence revealed that a group of Black Hebrew Israelites had been yelling racial slurs at Sandmann and his peers, and that the Native American elder approached Sandmann as a way of diffusing the situation between the Black Hebrew Israelites and the students. Moreover, it became clear that neither Sandmann nor his peers were at fault in the confrontation.
Sandmann filed a defamation suit against CNN seeking $250 million dollars for its inaccurate coverage of the confrontation and the emotional distress that he endured as a result. Earlier this month it was released that Sandmann had agreed to a settlement with CNN for an undisclosed amount. Continue reading “Tort Law and Fake News”
As we begin a new year, it is interesting to look back on how things have changed in both our personal world and in the world at large. One interesting development that has taken place over the past two decades in the world of international politics has been the drastic increase in the use of economic sanctions. It seems as if the imposition and lifting of sanctions is the language of international diplomacy, rather than being a single tool in the diplomatic toolbox.
Congratulations to the participants in the 2020 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition:
Foley Van Lieshout
The Jenkins preliminary rounds begin in March 2020, with the winning teams progressing through the quarterfinals, then semifinals, to the finals. All rounds are open to the public. Stay tuned for more information.
Milwaukee residents know firsthand that many cities in this country are facing an affordable housing crisis. The California legislature has recently taken major steps to address this problem. In addition to providing other protections for tenants, California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019 has limited annual rent increases to 5% plus inflation for the next decade. This legislation was enacted on January 1, 2020, making California the second state to institute a statewide cap on rent increases.
Whether or not this is the best way to solve the affordable housing crisis is debatable. On the one hand such a restriction seems to oppose free-market ideals by limiting landlords’ incentives to invest in housing. Furthermore, although capping rent increases may provide many people with a relatively expedient solution to unaffordable housing, it does not address all the root-causes of the crisis and may even make the problem worse in the long run. In this regard, the cap may be likened to giving a person a fish rather than teaching the person how to fish. Continue reading “Addressing the Housing Crisis on a Statewide Level”
NTSB’s Final Report on Pedestrian Fatality Involving an Uber AV Highlights Obvious Programming Missteps
On a dark street in Tempe, Arizona just before 10 p.m. on March 18, 2018, an Uber vehicle being tested in autonomous mode hit and killed a pedestrian. This was the first pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle, and it triggered a media firestorm that caused Uber to suspend its autonomous vehicle program for nine months as it worked with the NTSB to understand the causes of the crash. With the adoption by the NSTB of its final report on the crash on November 19, that work is now complete.
The NTSB’s final report paints a vivid picture of programming and human missteps that belies the argument commonly advanced in legal scholarship about AV liability — that crashes involving AVs will be impossible for the judges, juries, and doctrines that make up our current system of tort law to “understand.” Indeed, the errors that led to the crash were all too simple. Continue reading “Autonomous Vehicle Malfunctions May Not Be So Complicated After All”
Our student guest blogger for January is 1L Robert Ernest. Before attending law school, Robert worked in youth ministry and ran his own business renting out bounce houses. He has a B.A. in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas, and in his free time enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, and rock climbing. Welcome Robert!
Navigating your path as a lawyer—the new Marquette Lawyer magazine offers approaches to how you might do that.
The cover story, “Practicing Business Law at the Speed of Change,” includes insights from more than 15 lawyers whose work—together with that of their clients—is being shaped every day by advances in technology. Leaders of major firms, experts in the field, and lawyers at various stages in their careers describe how developments from the daily technology everyone uses (such as e-mail) to the most high-tech of today’s changes (blockchain, for example) are affecting legal practice. Click here to read the story.
Paired with the cover story is a profile of Ray Manista, L’90, whose titles at Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual include executive vice president – chief legal officer. Manista describes how “changing labels” has been a key to his successful career. He was a litigator at a large Milwaukee firm but “changed labels” to become a member of the legal team at Northwestern Mutual. Several years later, he changed labels again to become involved in corporate leadership. “To be truly effective, I had to lose the labels,” Manista says. To read his story, click here.
Lee H. Rosenthal, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, chose a thought-provoking subject about career paths when she delivered the E. Harold Hallows Lecture at Marquette Law School this past spring. “Ambition and Aspiration: Living Greatly in the Law” offers an essay version of her lecture on what priorities should guide members of the profession. Rosenthal’s remarks are accompanied in the magazine by responses from eight lawyers, judges, and professors: namely, Diane S. Sykes, Darren Bush, Suzanna Sherry, Chad M. Oldfather, Nancy Joseph, Anna Fodor, Anne Berleman Kearney, and Peter K. Rofes. To read the full story, click here.
When I lived in Chicago, I would always turn my head at a certain point while riding the Brown Line to go home. I knew there was a place where I could look and see the remaining towers of the Cabrini-Green high-rises. The buildings were built post-World War II when the Public Housing Administration decided to invest more money in slum clearance and providing housing for low-income residents. I would marvel at the light buildings as the sun shone on them, cutting down Division.
Cabrini-Green, at its peak, was a sprawling complex consisting of rowhouses and 23 high-rises. The last of the high-rises was demolished in 2011 and the buildings have been replaced by mixed-income housing developments and businesses.
At the time the public housing high rises of Chicago were demolished, they were remembered for crime, poor maintenance, urban blight, and possibly the time then-Mayor Jane Byrne lived at the tower at 1150-1160 N. Sedgwick for 25 days. The end of the high rises for the Chicago Housing Authority, and many other public housing high rises in the Midwest, largely came about as they had become the very thing they meant to replace; they had become towering crime-filled “slums” filled with some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in those communities.
In “’The Projects’: Lost Public Housing Towers of the Midwest,” one of the pieces in Midwest Architecture Journeys, Michael R. Allen examines the disappearance of the public housing high-rises of the Midwest. While some will point to Cabrini-Green as being the most notorious public housing project, St. Louis was home to Pruitt-Igoe. Pruitt-Igoe had Minoru Yamasaki, who would later design the World Trade Center in New York City, as its lead architect and featured windowed galleries that would be filled with light. Yamasaki had attempted to have mixed-rise buildings in the project but was forced by the federal government to build high-rises.
The planners of public housing in the Midwest would repeatedly run into the problem of being mandated to build high-rises but would still build what would seem nearly utopian. Allen writes in his piece about Pruitt-Igoe having playgrounds and the St. Louis Housing Authority initially planning on having a detailed landscape plan. Pruitt-Igoe was completed in 1956 and all thirty-three towers were demolished by the end of 1976.
Pruitt-Igoe, Cabrini-Green, as well as Robert Taylor, another Chicago public housing community, have become synonymous with the failures of attempts to create large communities for low-income residents. The New York City Housing Authority, which also features numerous high-rise housing communities, has not faced the same form of mass demolition under HOPE VI, and had its successes examined in Public Housing That Worked by Nicholas Dagen Bloom. It is the architecture of these public housing communities that is often attacked as it worked with the bold vision of urbanism. (Having walked through enough NYCHA communities during the time I lived in New York City, there has been planning regarding having playgrounds and community centers, but the tall red and brown brick buildings are not particularly inspiring.) Allen’s piece addresses the vilification of architecture in relation to public housing, in particular the lack of a desire to address the government policies that allowed public housing to fail.
As in Allen’s piece, an important consideration we as a society must make is whether to confront the policy problems with public housing and implement more affordable housing as rents rise throughout the country, or do we continue to blame architecture as skyscrapers continue to rise, including in Milwaukee — assuming The Couture is ever built. If we were to ever attempt the post-World War II public housing scale, could we do so while addressing the governmental and social issues in the most impoverished communities?