Welcome May Bloggers

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Please join me in welcoming our guest bloggers for the month of May: Michael Anspach and Anthony (Tony) Cotton.

Our Student Blogger for May is Michael Anspach.  Michael just completed his second year at Marquette Law.  He has been elected Editor in Chief of the Marquette Law Review for Volume 101 and he is also Founder of the Law School’s Organization for Student Wellbeing.  He was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and he received his B.A. from Boston College with a Major in Philosophy and a Minor in Music.  Shortly after graduating from Boston College in 2012, Michael began studying the Eastern traditions, specifically Hatha yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine).  He became a certified yoga, meditation, and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle instructor through Deepak Chopra’s school in Carlsbad, California.  Since that time, Michael has been a daily yoga and meditation practitioner.  While in the process of starting his own yoga business, Michael came to realize two things: First, he did not want to turn his spiritual practices into a money-making endeavor, and, second, he enjoyed the contract work, negotiation, and intellectual stimulation, that goes along with any startup business.  Shortly after coming to this realization, Michael made the decision to attend law school.  This summer, he will work at the firm of Anspach Meeks Ellenberger LLP, based out of Toledo, Ohio, where he will focus on civil litigation defense, specifically the defense of nationally-based, long-term care facilities.

Tony Cotton is our Alumni Blogger for May. Tony was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for two years before transferring to UW-Madison. At Madison, Tony majored in Political Science and was twice elected to student government.  Tony the attended Marquette University Law School, where he focused heavily on criminal and international law. During his second year of law school Tony was awarded a grant from the Public Interest Law Society so that he could investigate human rights abuses in Eritrea, East Africa. In the summer of 2004, Tony traveled throughout Eritrea to interview civilians and prepare claims for people who had suffered damages as a result of the Eritrean-Ethiopian war. 

While still in law school, Tony secured an internship with the Federal Defender’s Office in Milwaukee. AS a law clerk, Tony helped draft a habeas brief to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and he was invited to Washington, D.C. to help the attorneys prepare arguments for one of the most significant criminal cases in United States history: United States vs. Booker (2005).  After graduation in 2005, Tony began working at Kuchler & Cotton, S.C. in Waukesha. All of Tony’s practice involves defending those accused of crimes.

Tony was elected to the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) and has served as President of that organization. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).  Tony has been recognized by Super Lawyers, every year since 2008, and was selected by The Wisconsin Law Journal as an “Up and Coming Lawyer” in 2010. He also writes a monthly column for the Wisconsin Law Journal.

Welcome Our April Student Blogger!

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Photo of law student Courtney RoelandtsOur Student Blogger for the Month of April is Courtney Roelandts.

Courtney Roelandts received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology and her master’s degree in social work. She is a 2L law student who hopes to combine law and social work in the pursuit of social justice post-graduation. She consistently works with three area pro bono clinics, and is a member of the Marquette Law Review, President of the American Constitution Society, and Secretary of the Organization for Student Wellbeing.

We look forward to reading her posts!


Deadline Extended for Study Abroad in Germany

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Students walk outside of the law school at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.The deadline for submitting an application for the upcoming Summer Session in International and Comparative Law has been extended until April 25.  The program has been approved and will definitely take place.  However, there is still room for an additional five (5) students from Marquette Law School or from other U.S. law schools.

Every year, the four week Summer Session in the town of Giessen provides a fantastic opportunity to receive 4 law school credits while studying alongside an international student body and experiencing German culture.  Program participants can choose two courses from among four offerings: 1) Comparative Constitutional Law; 2) International Economic Law and Business Transactions; 3) Cyber Law; and 4) Business Ethics and Human Rights.  Two multi-day field trips — to Berlin and Hamburg — are included in the fees.

The program takes place from July 15 until August 12.  For more details, please visit the Study Abroad webpage, where you can also find more information on the tuition and fees, details on the course offerings , and where you can download an application.

Don’t delay, as the program will fill up quickly.

Photos:  Above, students walk in front of the law school building at Justus Liebig University.  Below, a view of the Giessen City Center, with Bell Tower and Opera House.

View from above of the City Center of Giessen, Germany with Clock Tower and Opera House.

Welcome Our Alumni Blogger for March

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Cain Oulahan headshotWe are pleased to have Cain Oulahan join the Faculty Blog as our alumni blogger for March. Cain is an attorney with Straub Immigration in Milwaukee. His practice focuses on family-based immigration, deportation defense, naturalization, U visas, deferred action, post-conviction relief and the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Attorney Oulahan graduated cum laude from Marquette University Law School where he was an associate editor of the Marquette Law Review. His comment, titled “The American Dream Deferred: Family Separation and Immigrant Visa Adjudications at U.S. Consulates Abroad,” was published in the Summer 2011 edition of the Marquette Law Review and was the winner of the 2011 Golden Quill Award for outstanding student comment.

Cain is currently President of the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association, Treasurer of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Legal Advisor to the Wisconsin State Board of the League of United Latin American Citizens. He volunteers regularly with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic and frequently presents on immigration issues for local non-profit organizations, churches and schools. He has appeared on the PBS program Adelante, the Telemundo evening news and program Buscando Soluciones, and has been interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio.



Apply Now for 2017 Summer Session in Giessen, Germany

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Three students in the summer program in Giessen, Germany sit at their desks and laugh.Applications are due March 24 for the Summer Session in International and Comparative Law being held in Giessen, Germany from July 15 through August 12, 2017.  Participants can choose from among four courses — CyberLaw, Comparative Constitutional Law, International Economic Law & Business Transactions and Business Ethics and Human Rights — and spend a month living and studying with a truly international student body.  A distinguished faculty from law schools in Germany, the United Kingdom and Wisconsin will lead the classroom instruction.  More information, as well as an application, can be downloaded here from the Law School Study Abroad webpage.  Past participants agree that this program was one of the most fun and memorable parts of their legal education.  If you need any more reasons to apply, consider watching this YouTube video made by last summer’s participant, A.J. “The Wanderer” Lawton, which documents his travels to Giessen, program field trip destinations in Hamburg and Berlin, and other sites throughout Europe.  Apply Now!

More Doubts About the Court’s Resolution of the John Doe Investigation

Posted on Categories Constitutional Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Election Law, Public, U.S. Supreme Court, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on More Doubts About the Court’s Resolution of the John Doe Investigation

Today, the United States Supreme Court summarily affirmed the decision of a Three Judge Panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in  Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission.  By affirming the panel in this case, the U.S. Supreme Court seriously undermined the legal rationale that the Wisconsin Supreme Court relied upon when it dismissed the John Doe investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination during the Governor Walker Recall Election.  In one sense, today’s action by the U.S. Supreme Court merely establishes the narrow rule that “electioneering activity,” which encompasses a variety of activity beyond express advocacy on behalf of a candidate for office, is subject to regulation without violating the U.S. Constitution.

However, the action of the U.S. Supreme Court is significant because it also necessarily rejects a converse proposition: that the scope of permissible government regulation of election activity is limited to conduct which constitutes “express advocacy.”  The Independence Institute case is relevant to the John Doe Investigation because both cases raise the legal question of whether the U.S. Constitution permits any regulation of election activity other than “express advocacy” or its functional equivalent.  “Express advocacy” is usually defined as a communication that expressly advocates for the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate.

The Independence Institute is a nonprofit organization.  It challenged disclosure requirements contained in the McCain-Feingold Act which would have required it to disclose its donors if it spent more than $10,000 on “electioneering communications” in the 60 days before a general election (or the 30 days before a primary election).  The group argued that this statutory requirement was unconstitutional because it went beyond the regulation of express advocacy.  As described by Judge Wilkins in an earlier proceeding in the D.C. Circuit, the argument of the Independence Institute reduced to the argument that “the only speech that should be considered an electioneering communication, and therefore trigger the BCRA’s reporting and disclosure requirements, is speech that is ‘unambiguously related’ to a campaign.”  The group wanted the Court to rule that the disclosure requirement in the statute could only be enforced in instances involving express advocacy.

If this sounds familiar, it is because the legal argument advanced by the Independence Institute is parallel to the reasoning adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its opinion ending the John Doe Investigation (State ex rel. Two Unnamed Petitioners v. Peterson, 2015 WI 85).  Continue reading “More Doubts About the Court’s Resolution of the John Doe Investigation”

PILS Auction This Friday

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Join the Law School community this Friday February 17 at the 24th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction in support of the Public Interest Law Society.  Festivities begin at 5:30 pm in Eckstein Hall and all proceeds support law students pursuing fellowships in public interest law.  In addition to the ever popular live auction, this year’s event will feature the return of the lip sync battle with surprise faculty performances.  It will be a great time to benefit a great cause.

Law Alumna is New “Bachelorette” on ABC

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It was announced Monday evening on the Jimmy Kimmel Live television program that Texas attorney Rachel Lindsay will be the next “Bachelorette” on the ABC series of that same name.  Ms. Lindsay is a 2011 graduate of the Marquette University Law School.  She has been a practicing litigator at the Dallas Office of the Law Firm Cooper & Scully.  She was previously a contestant on this season’s ABC reality show “The Bachelor.”  Ms. Lindsay’s selection is notable because she is the first African American to be cast as the lead of the popular reality series.  We at the Law School wish Ms. Lindsay all of the best, both professionally and romantically.

Ninth Circuit Rules 3-0 Against Trump Administration: Analysis and Explanation

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Tonight, the Ninth Circuit issued an unanimous ruling in State of Washington v. Trump rejecting the Trump Administration’s motion for an emergency stay of the District Court’s temporary injunction.  That order by the District Court had the effect of halting enforcement of the President’s January 27 Executive Order suspending entry of aliens from seven specified countries into the United States.  In prior posts here and here, I argued that the January 27 Executive Order violated statutory provisions such as the 1980 Refugee Act and also that the Order violated the United States Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion in the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants.

Tonight’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit is necessarily limited by the procedural posture of the case.  The court states at the outset:

To rule on the Government’s motion, we must consider several factors, including whether the Government has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal, the degree of hardship caused by a stay or its denial, and the public interest in granting or denying a stay. We assess those factors in light of the limited evidence put forward by both parties at this very preliminary stage and are mindful that our analysis of the hardships and public interest in this case involves particularly sensitive and weighty concerns on both sides. Nevertheless, we hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay.  (opinion at p. 3)

Despite this procedural posture, the opinion issued by the court goes out of its way to make several strong statements of law.  First, the court firmly rejects the assertion of the Trump Administration that “the district court lacked authority to enjoin enforcement of the Executive Order because the President has ‘unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens.’ ” (opinion at p. 13). Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Rules 3-0 Against Trump Administration: Analysis and Explanation”

President Trump’s Executive Order is Still Unlawful

Posted on Categories Constitutional Law, Federal Law & Legal System, Human Rights, Immigration Law, President & Executive Branch, Public, Religion & Law22 Comments on President Trump’s Executive Order is Still Unlawful

Yesterday, in a post on this Blog, I called President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017, “a rare trifecta of illegitimacy.”  The rollout of the Executive Order has been confused, and its implementation uneven.  Thus far, most Republican members of Congress have been silent on the legality of the Executive Order, even those Republicans who criticized Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration during the presidential primaries.  Notably, the Executive Order has received only tepid support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Executive Order purports to “suspend entry” of all aliens into the United States who are nationals of specified countries.  Media accounts describing the implementation of the Executive Order have focused thus far on the situation of individuals who are fleeing persecution being turned away at the United States border, and subsequently returned to their home country.  For example, reporters have underscored the plight of Iraqis who provided assistance to U.S. forces during the Iraq War, and who have expressed fear over their safety if they remain in Iraq.

Defenders of the President’s power to issue the Executive Order point to a 1950s era statute passed by Congress, Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1182(f)).  This provision is the key to the power Mr. Trump claims to suspend entry of certain categories of aliens and return them to their home countries.  Section 212(f) says:

“Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” (emphasis added)

By its own terms, the statute purports to grant the President the power to “suspend the entry” of aliens.  However, the Trump Administration has gone further.  The Trump Administration is turning aliens away from the border and returning them from whence they came. Continue reading “President Trump’s Executive Order is Still Unlawful”

A Trifecta of Illegitimacy

Posted on Categories Federal Law & Legal System, Human Rights, Immigration Law, President & Executive Branch, Public, Religion & Law37 Comments on A Trifecta of Illegitimacy

Let’s review a few basics about the Rule of Law in the United States of America.  First of all, the Executive Branch (in the form of the President) is given the power to enforce federal law by our United States Constitution.  In contrast, the Legislative Branch (in the form of the Congress) is given the power to make the law.  So, for example, if the Legislative Branch has passed a statute that grants all refugees seeking political asylum the absolute right to file such a claim when they reach our nation’s borders (which it has, in the Refugee Act of 1980), then the President cannot simply declare that right to be “suspended” and instruct officers with the Customs and Border Protection office to turn such refugees away when they arrive at U.S. airports or other ports of entry.

As a side note, none of the Executive Orders or Presidential Directives issued by President Obama relating to the enforcement of the immigration laws directly contravened explicit language contained in a statute passed by Congress.  The legal debate over the unilateral actions taken by President Obama concerned the scope of the President’s discretion to choose how to enforce the law and how to prioritize deportations.  They did not concern whether the President had the authority to order government officials to ignore explicit commands contained in the law.  The Order by President Trump to “suspend” the entry of refugees from specified countries without complying with the provisions required under the Refugee Act of 1980 is in direct conflict with an Act of Congress.

Second, the United States has signed treaties that obligate us to treat persons who are “refugees” in certain ways. Continue reading “A Trifecta of Illegitimacy”

New Bloggers Start Off the New Year

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We are happy to welcome our two guest bloggers for the month of January.

Our Alumni Blogger of the month is Rebeca Lopez.  Rebeca is an associate at Godfrey & Kahn in Milwaukee, where she is a member of the Labor, Employment & Immigration Law Practice Group.  Her work involves a wide variety of labor and employment matters, including wage and hour claims, employment discrimination, and conducting internal investigations involving employees. Rebeca also assists clients with drafting and enforcing employment policies and agreements.

Rebeca graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University Law School. While in law school, Rebeca served as Business Editor of the Marquette Law Review and interned in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin for Judge Lynn S. Adelman. Prior to law school, Rebeca was a Regional Coordinator and an Office Manager for a United States Senator.

Our Student Blogger for the month of January is Laura Mikeworth.   Laura is a 3L at Marquette Law School and a graduate of Marquette’s School of Arts and Sciences.  She currently serves as an Articles Editor on the Marquette Law Review, as well as a student leader for Marquette Law School’s Academic Success Program.  After graduation, Laura will be joining Foley & Larder LLP in their Milwaukee office.