With candor and humor, environmental regulators give commitments to tackle challenges

Posted on Categories Environmental Law, Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on With candor and humor, environmental regulators give commitments to tackle challenges

In 15 years of public policy programs hosted by Marquette Law School, there may never have been as succinct, candid, and humorous answer to a question as one provided by Preston Cole, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, during a program on June 15, 2022, in the Lubar Center of Eckstein Hall.

The session, “A Federal-State Conversation on Environmental Issues,” featured Cole and Debra Shore, administrator of Region 5 of the Environmental Protection Agency, which covers much of the Midwest, including Wisconsin. David Strifling, director of the Law School’s Water Law and Policy Initiative, was the moderator. The session was held before an in-person audience and livestreamed.

Strifling asked Cole what was one thing Wisconsin needed from the EPA. “Money, money, money, money!” Cole sang in response. “Money!” he added, for emphasis.

EPA funding translates into buying power to deal with major environmental issues such as the impact of large-scale agricultural operations, invasive species, and chemical contamination of water, Cole said.

Shore and Cole said their agencies have renewed and increased commitments to dealing with a host of issues including pollution from chemicals known as PFAS and global warming. Continue reading “With candor and humor, environmental regulators give commitments to tackle challenges”

New Marquette Lawyer Focuses on Efforts to Repair and Respond to Harm

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Summer 2022 Marquette Lawyer - Janine Geske, Louis Andrew, L’66, and his wife, Suzanne Bouquet AndrewIn important but differing ways, the four major stories in the summer 2022 edition of Marquette Lawyer magazine all focus on what can be done to improve things when harm occurs.

The cover story—featuring the biggest news this past year for Marquette University Law School itself—spotlights a $5 million gift from Marquette alumni, Louie Andrew (L’66) and his wife, Suzanne Bouquet Andrew (Sp’66). The gift has established an endowment enabling the university to create the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice at the Law School. The Andrews have been longtime generous supporters of the Law School, both generally since the tenure of the late Dean Howard B. Eisenberg and, particularly, of the work of Distinguished Professor of Law Janine P. Geske, L’75, an internationally known advocate of restorative justice.

Restorative justice work, broadly speaking, involves bringing together people who have been affected by harmful situations and, through discussions, often in moderated circle groups, seeking ways to reduce the harm. Geske, a former state supreme court justice and trial judge, first took part in restorative justice sessions at the Wisconsin correctional facility in Green Bay. The Andrews became supporters of Geske’s work through the Law School to bring restorative justice principles to bear on a range of major social issues and to hold a series of conferences at the Law School, beginning in 2004.

In recent years, the Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative, as it was called beginning in 2004, reached a crossroads, on account of factors including the impact of the pandemic and Geske’s retirement. When Geske, the Andrews, and others then determined to renew the work in an enduring way, the Andrews stepped up with their historic donation this past December and Geske agreed to return to the Law School to get the permanent effort launched.

In the new magazine, an article, headlined “Starfish Enterprise,” describes the past path of restorative justice at the Law School—and its anticipated future through the new Andrew Center for Restorative Justice. Click here to read the piece. A companion article, “A Quiet Approach, Resounding Accomplishments,” profiles the Andrews and may be read by clicking here.

The next entry takes up the law’s more traditional (civil) approach to harm. In a new book rich in detail and perspective, Joseph A. Ranney, Marquette Law School’s Adrian P. Schoone Fellow in Legal History, examines legal approaches to civil wrongs and their aftermath—the harms that lead people to turn to courts. That is to say, Ranney writes about the law of torts. The magazine offers excerpts from his new book, The Burdens of All: A Social History of American Tort Law (Carolina Academic Press 2021), and from related pieces by Ranney.

From the early days of railroads to the rise of automobiles and the expansion of product liability law, Ranney describes trends and ideas that have shaped tort law. The magazine piece concludes with observations by Alexander B. Lemann, assistant professor of law at Marquette University, on Ranney’s book. Both Ranney’s collection, “Exploring the Fault Lines,” and Lemann’s comment, “Tort Law’s Past—and Future,” may be read by clicking here.

The third entry in this series takes up a particular, even unique, aspect of the past academic year’s pro bono work—which is, more generally, an important part of life for many Marquette Law School students. During the holiday break this past December and January, 49 law students, nearly 10 percent of the Law School’s enrollment, volunteered to spend time at the U.S. Army base, Fort McCoy, in rural west central Wisconsin. Thousands of people who had been evacuated from Afghanistan during the collapse of the government there in August 2021 had been temporarily settled at Fort McCoy, hoping for, awaiting, new homes in the United States.

The law students did not receive pay or academic credit for their work. But they found satisfaction in the assistance they were able to give the Afghans in getting started on the process of getting permission to stay in the United States permanently. An article in the magazine describes the students’ work and includes comments from five of them on this special way of helping others deal with the harm that had overturned their prior lives. The article, “Helped Today; Gone Forward Tomorrow,” may be read by clicking here.

Finally, dealing with environmental issues and the future of water—indeed, the rise of the administrative state more generally—can also be looked at as a way of responding to harm and potential harm in our society. Since 2014, the Law School’s Water Law and Policy Initiative, part of the broader emphasis on water issues at Marquette University, has addressed important water issues. Led by Professor David Strifling, the initiative has contributed to understanding of subjects ranging from high-tech ways of managing water use to the virtues of using kitchen garbage disposals. The work of the initiative is described in ”Even the Kitchen Sink,” which may be read by clicking here.

To be sure, there is more to the magazine. This includes an encomium of William C. Welburn, upon his retirement as Marquette University’s vice president for inclusive excellence this past academic year, and Dean Joseph D. Kearney’s reflections on the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice and some of the relationships that have moved Marquette Law School forward during the past 130 years. His column, “Let Us Tell You a Story—or Many Connecting Ones,” may be read by clicking here. And, scarcely least, the Class Notes pages succinctly describe recent accomplishments of more than 90 Marquette lawyers and may be read by clicking here.

The full magazine may be viewed by clicking here.

Pro Bono Work Brings Law Students to Fort McCoy to Help Afghans Seek Asylum

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An edited version of this piece appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on December 30, 2021.

Fort McCoy — Write down every detail of what happened to you in Afghanistan that makes you want to never go back. Write down everything you remember.

Law students Ciara Hudson and Allison Childs meet with an Afghan woman at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, to help with her immigration work.

“I don’t want to remember,” the young woman said matter-of-factly in English.

For this, you have to remember, said Malin Ehrsam, one of two Marquette University Law School students on the other side of a table. Then, when you are done, you can forget.

For the Afghan “guests,” as they are officially called, remembering is crucial – remembering the threats, the fear, the deaths or torture of relatives, the ominous daily events, the abrupt and chaotic flight about four months ago from Afghanistan, where the government had collapsed and the Taliban had taken over. After various stops, the journey brought about 13,000 of them to Fort McCoy, a military base near Tomah in central Wisconsin. Continue reading “Pro Bono Work Brings Law Students to Fort McCoy to Help Afghans Seek Asylum”

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Highlights the “Winning Record” of the Sports Law Program and Features Various Faculty

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Marquette Lawyer Magazine Cover Fall 2021Past, present, and future. Look to all three in judging the success of any higher education program. Consider the Fall 2021 issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine as a way of putting the Marquette Law School’s sports law program up to judgment in just those ways—and we’re not shy about saying the verdict is strongly favorable. Marquette has been breaking ground in sports law for decades, it continues to be a leader, and the future of our students is promising.

The new magazine, titled “The Sports Law Issue,” looks to the past with a profile of Ray Cannon, from the Law School class of 1913, who became a pioneer of sports law in the United States. The fascinating story is written by Cannon’s grandson Thomas G. Cannon, a former professor at Marquette Law School. It describes Ray Cannon’s legal work on behalf of famed athletes such as Jack Dempsey, the world heavyweight champion boxer; “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, a baseball star who was accused (wrongly, it would seem) of accepting money to throw the 1919 World Series; and Red Grange, whom some consider the greatest college football player of all time. Ray Cannon was also involved in early efforts to form an association of baseball players to help them deal with team owners. The story may be read by clicking here.

The magazine looks to the present with profiles of 14 Marquette lawyers who participated in the sports law program while in law school. They have gone on to successful careers, variously in sports and in broader fields of law. Included are some of the Marquette lawyers working for major sports franchises, teaching college courses, handling the legal needs of college sports programs, working in the business world, representing private clients, leading private businesses, and developing nonprofit organizations.

And the magazine looks to the future with profiles of six students now in the sports law program and on track for legal careers.

“A Winning Record,” the story profiling the alumni and the current students, may be read by clicking here. Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Highlights the “Winning Record” of the Sports Law Program and Features Various Faculty”

Elections Administrator Stands Firm: “I know I Have the Facts Behind Me”

Posted on Categories Election Law, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Elections Administrator Stands Firm: “I know I Have the Facts Behind Me”

Meagan Wolfe has been under a lot of pressure since the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin. As the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, she has been a prime target of criticism from those who think there were irregularities and misconduct behind Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow win over Republican Donald Trump. There have been calls from some Republicans for Wolfe to be fired, along with attacks on her integrity and competence.

But in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program on Dec. 3, 2021, Wolfe firmly defended the work of election officials across Wisconsin and showed no sign of backing down from her position that the election was run well and by the rules.

“It’s always difficult when your integrity is questioned, but I know I have the facts behind me,” Wolfe told Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. “I stand behind the great work that I know I did, that I know my team did, that I know local elections officials did.” Continue reading “Elections Administrator Stands Firm: “I know I Have the Facts Behind Me””

In an “On the Issues” Interview, Rep. Kind Warns of “A Very Perilous Time” for Democracy

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Ron Kind says he wants to leave the United States House of Representatives after 26 years on a hopeful and optimistic note. But that is hard in the current political environment, he made clear during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Wednesday (Dec. 1, 2021).

The state of American democracy is “very fragile,” he told Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. He said that on Jan. 6, 2021, the nation was “a majority away” from having an armed overthrow of the government when people stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Joe Biden from being formally declared to be the president. He said that if Republicans had been in the majority, there likely would have been a major constitutional crisis.

More generally, Kind, a moderate Democrat who has represented western Wisconsin in the House since 1997, said, “Unquestionably, our politics have gotten very toxic in recent years.” That is hard for someone like him., he said, because he has always tried to have good relationships with members of Congress from across the spectrum. Continue reading “In an “On the Issues” Interview, Rep. Kind Warns of “A Very Perilous Time” for Democracy”

On the Issues: Some Personal Respect Amid Big Differences Over Redistricting

Posted on Categories Election Law, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on On the Issues: Some Personal Respect Amid Big Differences Over Redistricting

On one thing, Jay Heck and Joe Handrick agreed: They each respect the other for doing what each thinks is best for Wisconsin voters.

But during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program, posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Tuesday (Oct. 26, 2021), the two disagreed on just about everything that involved policies and practices involving voters. That included differences on a list of issues related to elections, especially the hot current disputes over how to draw new boundaries for political districts.

Heck has led Common Cause Wisconsin, a non-profit organization based in Madison, for more than 20 years. Handrick, a former Republican legislator from northern Wisconsin, was recently named to head Common Sense Wisconsin, also a non-profit organization.

Their differences can be summarized by noting that Handrick helped draw up the Republican-backed 2011 map of legislative districts in Wisconsin and Heck called that map one of the five most partisan gerrymanders in the last 50 years of American politics.

Or it can be shown in the way Heck spoke positively of the work of a citizen’s commission, appointed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, which recently proposed “nonpartisan” maps for legislative districts for the next decade, while Handrick sharply criticized that commission’s proposal and spoke positively of maps proposed by Republicans in the state legislature. Continue reading “On the Issues: Some Personal Respect Amid Big Differences Over Redistricting”

“On the Issues” Programs Give Contrasting Views of Political Gravity Around Voting Issues

Posted on Categories Election Law, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on “On the Issues” Programs Give Contrasting Views of Political Gravity Around Voting Issues

You can feel the “gravitational pull” of the political forces that are trying to make it harder for people to vote, Marquette Law School Professor Atiba Ellis said during a recent “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program. He and Molly McGrath, a voting rights attorney, advocate, and organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights project, called for resisting that pull through broad efforts to make voting accessible and easy for the maximum number of people.

Rick Esenberg, president and general counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), also can be seen as someone with a strong sense of gravity around voting issues. But the pull he feels leads him and the influential conservative law firm and think tank he heads to take positions that differ with those of Ellis and McGrath. In a separate “On the Issues” program recently, Esenberg described WILL’s work on a range of issues, including on voting issues. The pull Esenberg described was toward observing the law and judicial decisions in ways that likely would put more limits on ways to vote.

The pair of programs, conducted virtually and posted on the Marquette Law School web site, continued the “On the Issues” focus on voting issues. The programs are hosted by Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading ““On the Issues” Programs Give Contrasting Views of Political Gravity Around Voting Issues”

Lubar Center Exploration of Redistricting in Wisconsin Expands to Include Blog Updates

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Political redistricting in Wisconsin is important to shaping long-term policies. The process for deciding political boundaries at all levels is controversial and hot. The courts, more so than legislative chambers, are likely to be the central arenas for deciding a number of the important outcomes in the now-unfolding decennial cycle.

Put those three statements together and you see why Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education is giving redistricting special attention, with the goal of providing evenhanded background and insight.

A blog post that will follow this is the first in a series of Lubar Center posts on the Marquette Law School Faculty Blog that will focus on aspects of the current work on redistricting.

Reporting and writing the posts is Larry Sandler, a freelance journalist with more than 38 years of experience covering government and business in southeastern Wisconsin for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other publications. Continue reading “Lubar Center Exploration of Redistricting in Wisconsin Expands to Include Blog Updates”

School districts that use pandemic funds wisely may see payoff

Posted on Categories Education & Law, Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on School districts that use pandemic funds wisely may see payoff

This appeared as a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 25, 2021.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It won’t really accomplish anything.

Both opinions are widely held as schools across the country plan for what to do with a huge wave of federal funding intended to boost both students and schools as a result of the pandemic.

“This is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children,” Keith Posley, superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, said during a Marquette Law School program posted online July 21 on how the money will be used. Posley added, “Our children deserve these funds and even more to make sure they are able to truly get the quality education that they deserve and live that American dream.”

But you need look no farther than the state Capitol in Madison to find opposite views. In late May, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The amount of federal money that is going to school districts is overwhelming. It’s really kind of obscene in many ways.” The new state budget kept a tight limit on school spending across Wisconsin largely because of Republican opinions of the federal aid. Continue reading “School districts that use pandemic funds wisely may see payoff”

Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports

Posted on Categories Public, Speakers at Marquette, Sports & Law1 Comment on Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports

Will this summer be a turning point for college athletics?

The full answer to that is complex, multi-faceted, and, of course, still to emerge. But two experts in sports law summarized their responses concisely during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program, posted on the Marquette Law School web site on May 27:

“I think so,” said Steve Ross, Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State University and Executive Director of the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society.

Are we at a watershed moment for college sports?

“I think we are,” said Professor Matt Mitten, executive director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School. “We’re coming to a crossroads within the next month.” Continue reading “Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports”

Can a Task Force’s Agreement on Controversial Ideas Spur a Better Tone in Politics?

Posted on Categories Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Speakers at Marquette1 Comment on Can a Task Force’s Agreement on Controversial Ideas Spur a Better Tone in Politics?

She’s a D, he’s an R. But State Rep. Shelia Stubbs, a Democrat from Madison who is Black, and State Rep. Jim Steineke, a Republican from Kaukauna who is majority leader of the Assembly and who is white, also are friends who have confidence that the other will act in good faith.

If you expected them not to work together in leading the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities, created by the Republican leader of the Assembly, Rep .Robin Vos, and if you expected the task force not to come to agreement on a proposals for legislation focused on law enforcement issues that have stirred controversy, you were wrong.

In an “On the issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School web site on May 19, Steineke and Stubbs were optimistic that the 18 proposals from the task force would become law before the end of June. They also expressed hope that the way they worked together could help change the contentious tone of so much that goes in Wisconsin politics. Continue reading “Can a Task Force’s Agreement on Controversial Ideas Spur a Better Tone in Politics?”

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