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?”

New Approaches to Judging and a Primer on Redistricting Featured in New Marquette Lawyer

Posted on Categories Marquette Lawyer MagazineLeave a comment» on New Approaches to Judging and a Primer on Redistricting Featured in New Marquette Lawyer

Summer Cover - Drawing of a CourthouseSpotlighting aspects of the life of Marquette Law School is an important goal of any issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine. Yet a successful issue does more than that. It also provides in-depth reporting and thinking about major issues that shape the law and affect lives.

Measured against such important goals, the Summer 2021 issue of Marquette Lawyer is a strong success. It offers a set of stories focusing on judges, several of them alumni of the Law School, who are taking “problem-solving” approaches to their work. This moves them beyond the conventional ways of presiding over courtrooms and cases. Instead, they lead teams trying to help people achieve stable living. There is not universal agreement even among judges as to its desirability, but the cover stories identify and explore an important trend. The magazine also includes an extensive primer on political redistricting issues that are hot subjects currently. Another article examines the surge in investors from beyond Wisconsin who are buying homes in Milwaukee. And, certainly, the magazine reports on aspects of life at the Law School, including the success of students’ pro bono work during the pandemic, an unusual honor extended to two emeritae professors, career milestones of some Marquette lawyers, and a conversation on corporate law between a Marquette faculty expert and a notable Delaware judge.

Here is a guide to the content, including links that will take you to the full articles.

Can Judges Become Helpers? The role of courts is being given new dimensions by dozens of judges across Wisconsin whose work includes presiding in treatment courts that aim to reduce recidivism by helping people put issues such as addiction behind them. “We are creating a new wave of judges,” says Chief Judge Mary Triggiano of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. “We’ve made some profound changes in the way we judge.” In five pieces, this package describes how treatment courts work and profiles some of the judges who are involved. To read the stories, click here.

Big Need, Big Change, Big Help. Marquette Law School puts a priority on encouraging and helping students to take part in pro bono efforts. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, how were students (and volunteer lawyers) to continue in the clinics and the direct help at the center of their efforts? By switching to virtual work, of course, including launching a help line that has received thousands of calls. Read the story by clicking here.

Still Winning in the Court of Public Opinion. The Marquette Law School Poll’s second annual nationwide survey of public opinion about the U.S. Supreme Court found that majorities are satisfied with the work of the Court. People give the Court higher marks than the presidency or Congress, and believe that it bases its decisions on the law more than politics. Might an interest in keeping that standing among public opinion affect how the Court decides upcoming cases? Read the story, reporting on both public opinion and that of experts, by clicking here.

Between the Lines: The Politics, Law, and History of Political Redistricting. As the battles in Wisconsin heat up over political redistricting following the 2020 census, the Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education provides a primer that describes how political boundaries are determined and the history that has brought up the current system. While state legislative districts draw the most contentious advocacy, this package of stories also describes congressional and local redistricting practices, and gives perspective on what is and is not at stake currently. To read the stories, click here.

Who Owns the House Next Door? While relatively small efforts to help low-income people buy homes in Milwaukee have had successes, the big action in purchases of inexpensive homes involves investors from beyond Wisconsin who see low home prices and substantial rental income as attractive investment opportunities. This very recent and accelerating development has substantial social implications. Read the story by clicking here.

Of LLCs, ESGs, Diversity, and Virtual Annual Meetings. Delaware Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster talks with Nadelle Grossman, professor of law and associate dean for academic affairs, about developments in corporate law. In early 2020, Laster was Marquette Law School’s annual Hallows Judicial Fellow. Read excerpts of their conversation by clicking here.

In the Law School News section, we recognize the winners of four alumni awards: Deborah McKeithan-Gebhardt, L’87, alumna of the year; James T. Murray, Jr., L’74, for lifetime achievement; Sarah Padove, L’12, the Charles W. Mentkowski Sports Law Alumna of the Year; and Raphael R. Ramos, L’08, who received the Howard B. Eisenberg Service Award.

The Law School News section also includes a story on the unveiling of portraits in Eckstein Hall of two emeritae professors, Carolyn M. Edwards and Phoebe Weaver Williams; a report on a community conversation on policing and accountability; a set of quotations from speakers to give a flavor of recent virtual Law School programs; and a description of a new book exploring the famous Chicago lakefront’s legal history, including the American public trust doctrine, which has its origins there.

The Law School News pages may be read by clicking here.

The Class Notes section, with updates on several dozen Marquette lawyers, includes an appreciation of R. L. McNeely, L’94, who grew up in Flint, Mich., and became a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, community leader, and lawyer. Class Notes may be read by clicking here.

A message from Dean Joseph D. Kearney, introducing the magazine and reflecting in particular on the cover stories, may be read by clicking here.

The full issue of the magazine may be read by clicking here.

From Diverse Standpoints, Experts Agree on the Need for Re-energizing K-12 Education

Posted on Categories Education & Law, Lubar Center, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on From Diverse Standpoints, Experts Agree on the Need for Re-energizing K-12 Education

This story about the discussion during a program of the Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy and Civic Education appeared initially in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 2, 2021.

Pedro Noguera and Rick Hess talk to many school superintendents and principals around the United States. In general, they don’t find them to be oriented toward the sharp partisan divides that dominate education debate.

“When you talk to people who lead school systems, they are less ideological,” Noguera said. “They focus on practical matters.”

By “practical matters,” Noguera meant the daily things that lead to kids getting good educations, things like good teachers, good learning practices, and school cultures that offer warmth, safety and stability. Those are things he hopes will be given renewed priority as education recovers from the COVID pandemic.

“If there’s a silver lining to come from this experience with respect to education, I hope it’s a return to a focus on education that stimulates and inspires kids,” Noguera wrote in a book, co-authored with Hess, that came out several weeks ago. Continue reading “From Diverse Standpoints, Experts Agree on the Need for Re-energizing K-12 Education”

Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities

Posted on Categories Public, Speakers at Marquette1 Comment on Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities

Enormous selection, good prices, quick delivery, the safety and comfort of shopping from home – what’s not to like about Amazon?

Mike Gousha put that question to Alec MacGillis, in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School’s web site on April 21, 2021.

“There’s a lot not to like,” MacGillis answered. He spells out what he means – as well as the reasons so many people love Amazon – in a broad and deep look at the company and its impact in his new book, “Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America.” And he described much of what he found in researching the book in his conversation with Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading “Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities”

Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say

Posted on Categories Election Law, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say

You want to do something about the partisan polarization that puts the United States Congress into frequent gridlock? Katherine Gehl and Austin Ramirez say there is a solution that has nothing to do with any specific policy or how people define themselves when it comes to partisanship: Change the way Congress members are elected.

“It turns out what really matters is the system, the rules of the game,” Gehl said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School web site on April 8, 2021. The game she referred to is the way politicians get re-elected. Single-party primary elections motivate them to take highly partisan positions that play to small, but decisive blocks of voters within their party.

“Currently the system pushes – forces — the sides apart,” Gehl said. What’s best in the big picture doesn’t count the way that it counts to do what’s best for winning a party primary or keeping others from launching primary challenges.

“Our task is to make keeping the job the same as getting results for the country,” she told Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading “Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say”

State Economic Development Leader Sees Growth Ahead, but Problems to Solve

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation generally focused on larger projects aimed at building up the state’s economy, which is to say, the quasi-public agency made about 300 grants a year.

But with the impact the coronavirus had on economic life in Wisconsin, “we had to invent a bunch of tools to help businesses,” Missy Hughes, the secretary and CEO of WEDC, said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Wednesday (March 18, 2021).

The result? WEDC has made more than 60,000 grants during the pandemic period, the large number of them to small businesses seeking federal money intended to help those businesses stay alive.

As much as the grants have helped  and as much as business owners and operators have shown grit, resiliency and creativity in what they are doing, Hughes told Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, that she was concerned that 20 percent to 30 percent of small businesses statewide would not survive the pandemic. Continue reading “State Economic Development Leader Sees Growth Ahead, but Problems to Solve”

Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference

There was unanimous concern about the overall issue. There was unanimous willingness to work together. There was open and substantial conversation. But it will take time to see what will actually happen when it comes to progress on how to police communities and how to achieve good  accountability when things related to police go bad.

That summarizes a two-hour conference on policing and accountability hosted by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette Forum, a university-wide set of efforts to address major issues. Participants included major figures involved in controversies over the subject and in the aftermath of several police shootings of black men. The conference was posted on the Law School’s web site on March 10, 2021.

“Ideologically, we want to live in a city where we all feel safe, where we feel heard, where we feel protected,” said Amanda Avalos, a new member of Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission. “And people’s ideas of how we get there are different.” Continue reading “Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference”

Rebuilding intangibles like trust will be needed for schools to recover, expert says at Law School program

Posted on Categories Milwaukee Public Schools, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Rebuilding intangibles like trust will be needed for schools to recover, expert says at Law School program

This appeared as a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 7, 2021.

As we reach the one-year mark in the greatest crisis American education has faced since the public schooling began taking its current form in the 19th Century, there are so many tangible things to be concerned about. Getting more kids back to school in person, especially now that teachers are getting vaccinated. What to do to help kids cover educational ground they didn’t cover in past months. How to use the coming summer. Money issues. Handling continuing health precautions. On and on.

But underlying the tangible issues are intangibles that also need big attention. I was involved in a virtual program on March 2 sponsored by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette College of Education on the state of K-12 education. Here are a few valuable thoughts from that session, emphasizing some of those intangibles:

Trust. A good school community is one where people – adults and children – are confident that, overall, things are being done well and for the good of all. There is a sense of everyone being on the same team. Trust underlies all of this. And the relationships and assumptions involved in trust have taken big steps backwards in many communities. That shows up especially in disputes nationwide over whether to have school in person.    Continue reading “Rebuilding intangibles like trust will be needed for schools to recover, expert says at Law School program”

Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs

Posted on Categories Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at Marquette1 Comment on Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs

Black people who have the potential to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have rarely reached that potential, given the impact of systemic racism, including the fact that few are in positions where they can take part in the networking that leads to so many opportunities.

Abim Kolawole thinks change can occur and steps being taken now will have positive impact. And he is in a major position to help that become so.

Kolawole, a top executive of Northwestern Mutual – he was recently named vice-president of “customer experience integration and promoting journey “ and was previously vice president of digital innovation — said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s website on February 17, 2021, that there is a greater sense of urgency around creating opportunity in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. Continue reading “Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs”