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”

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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

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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

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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?”

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

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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”