Foxconn Deal Tips the Scales of Justice

Posted on Categories Business Regulation, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Corporate Law, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Foxconn Deal Tips the Scales of Justice

Photo of the front of the building that houses the U.S. Supreme Court, with an inscription above th doorway that reads "equal justice under the law."

The following opinion piece appears in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Our system of justice rests upon two pillars: equal treatment and independent judgment.  Every person who appears before our state courts expects to be treated equally to every other litigant.  In addition, every party to a lawsuit expects to have his case heard by a judge who is free to exercise their own independent judgment.  Recently, the state legislature in Madison and Governor Walker approved legislation – a $3 billion package luring Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen TV factory in Racine County — that seriously undermines these two fundamental principles.

The principle of equal treatment commands that the same rules should apply to all parties appearing before the court.  No one should receive special status.  It is true that the two sides in a case might not be evenly matched, and that one might have more financial resources or a more skilled legal team.  But, even then, both parties in the case should be subject to the same set of laws and procedures, and have the same opportunity to argue that the law supports their claim.

The Foxconn legislation creates special treatment for Foxconn whenever that corporation is sued in Wisconsin courts.  The law forces the Wisconsin Supreme Court to directly take appeals involving “Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing Zones” (EITM) from the circuit courts. By law there is only one such zone, and that zone is home to Foxconn. Typically, the high court would hear appeals at their discretion, and then only after the case was heard by an intermediate court.  The reason for placing cases involving Foxconn on a “fast-track” to the Wisconsin Supreme Court should be obvious.  That Court currently boasts a majority of Justices who were elected with the financial support of Wisconsin’s largest trade and manufacturing lobbyists.  The drafters of the legislation expect these Justices to be sympathetic to the concerns of manufacturers like Foxconn.

We expect our state court judges to be free to exercise their independent judgment when deciding the merits of a case.  It is the trial judge that hears the facts and the evidence, and who determines the appropriate remedy should the plaintiff prevail.  It is not the state legislature’s job to decide which party in a case should win, or what remedy should be imposed in an individual case. Continue reading “Foxconn Deal Tips the Scales of Justice”

Our Guest Bloggers for November

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There is frost on the pumpkin, so it must be time to welcome our guest bloggers for the month of November.

Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Stacy Alexejun.  Stacy is a litigation attorney in the Madison office of Quarles & Brady LLP.  She focuses her practice on product liability defense and intellectual property litigation, with an emphasis in trademark, trade secret, copyright, and unfair competition matters.  Before joining Quarles, Stacy clerked for three terms for Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  She is a 2009 graduate of Marquette University Law School and has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin.  She and her husband Brad have a 20-month-old daughter, Lucille.

Our Student Blogger of the Month is Samantha Feak.  Samantha is originally from Sagola, Michigan.  She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated with a degree in international politics and U.S. foreign relations.  She served as a Summer Law Fellow at the Milwaukee Justice Center and has been active in both the American Association for Justice and the Wisconsin Association for Justice.

Welcome and we look forward to your posts!



Public Hearing to Address Judicial Recusal Rules

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Court System, Wisconsin Law & Legal System, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Public Hearing to Address Judicial Recusal Rules

Logo with the words "Access to Justice" over the ops of photos of Louis Butler, Mike Skwierawski, Ed Fallone and Jay Heck.On Wednesday night, October 11th, the non-partisan organization Common Cause in Wisconsin is holding a town hall meeting/public hearing entitled “Access to Justice.” Co-sponsors of the event include the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County, and the American Association of University Women of Wisconsin.  This free event is open to the public and will take place October 11 from 6:30PM to 8:00PM at Marquette Law School in the Appellate Courtroom (Main Level).  Marquette University Law School is not a sponsor of the event.

The focus of the event will be the recusal rules that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has adopted for our state judiciary.  Wisconsin’s current state recusal “non-standard” was written by the lobbyist organization Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce in 2010. The current rule essentially states that judges may decide for themselves whether to recuse themselves in a case involving a donor or special interest group who made campaign contributions to that judge.

This past April, the Wisconsin Supreme Court discussed a petition by 54 retired Wisconsin judges to establish reasonable thresholds for recusal of trial and appellate judges when they receive campaign contributions from a defendant or plaintiff – or if they benefited from spending by an “outside” special interest group involved in a case before their court.  The State Supreme Court voted 5 to 2 to reject this petition, and the Court did so without any input from the public.

The purpose of Wednesday night’s event is to educate persons in attendance on the issue of judicial recusal rules and to seek public input on possible reforms.  I will be one speaker at this event, along with former State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, former Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Michael Skwierawski, and Jay Heck from Common Cause.

Again, this event is free and open to the public.  I hope to see you there.

Welcome October Bloggers

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The cool fall air in the morning tells us that October has arrived, and with the new month comes a new pair of guest bloggers.

Our Alumni Blogger is Emil Ovbiagele.  Emil works with closely-held businesses and entrepreneurs. He practices in the areas of corporate law, small business and real estate acquisitions, employment law, and commercial litigation.  Emil obtained his B.A., JD, and MBA from Marquette University. He currently serves on the Board of the Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association.  Since 2014, he has volunteered as a competition coach for several mock trial teams at the Marquette University Law School. In 2017, Emil was recognized by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” and was selected by the Wisconsin Law Journal as an “Up and Coming Lawyer.”

Our Student Blogger of the month is 2L Aurusa Kabani, who provides the following bio:  “I was born in the armpit of Texas, also known as Houston, but I could not have been happier to be raised in Fort Worth, where the weather is always nicer. As the baby in the family with two older brothers, ESPN has a very special place in my heart, especially when the Dallas Cowboys or the Dallas Mavericks are playing on our home turf. I am a full-time law student studying at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, currently I am externing at NCAA’s Enforcement division and attending IU McKinney Law School in Indianapolis, Indiana for the semester. The reason I chose to attend law school is because there are very few people who look like me in the field of law, but particularly in sports law. I am here to change that and shatter glass ceilings.”

Please join me in welcoming our October guest bloggers!

Study Abroad Information Sessions This Thursday

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Study Abroad Information Sessions This Thursday
Five students in a classroom in Giessen, Germany respond to the professor's question.
2017 Summer Session in Giessen, Germany

There will be two information sessions this coming Thursday September 21 in order to provide students with important details about the Law School’s study abroad opportunities.  Plan to attend and learn about how to spend one semester of your law school experience in Copenhagen, Madrid or Poitiers, France.  Information will also be available about the 2018 summer program in International and Comparative Law which will be held in Giessen. Germany.  Foreign study can add an international perspective to your legal education, and the Marquette University Law School offers several outstanding study abroad opportunities.  Advance planning is necessary in order to take advantage of these programs, however, so come to the information session in order to learn more about deadlines and application procedures.

Professors Madry and Fallone will be providing information and answering questions on Thursday at noon (in Room 257) and again at 4:30 pm (in Room 255).

It Is Not Too Early to Plan for Study Abroad in 2018

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A group of twenty students and faculty pose holding certificates at the Closing Ceremony in Giessen, Germany.
Summer Schools Justus-Liebig-University Closing Ceremony

The Ninth Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law, one of the nation’s most unique law school study abroad programs, ended with a Closing Ceremony on August 11.  The Closing Ceremony was covered by the local newspaper in the town of Giessen, Germany, The Giessener.  You can read the newspaper’s story at this link.  For those of you who do not speak German, here is a translation of the story courtesy of Google Translate:

GIESSEN – An international atmosphere prevailed in the last four weeks at Justus Liebig University (JLU). During this period, 65 students from 22 nations attended the ninth German Summer School in International and Comparative Law and the 13th Hessen International Summer University (ISU). At the closing ceremony in the university building in Ludwigstrasse, it was necessary to say good-bye.

“I hope that the two programs are the beginning of an intense relationship between you and Germany and that this is not your last visit here,” JLU President Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee wished in his welcoming speech. For him, the academic exchange is very important, especially since in Giessen it is also part of a particularly long tradition. For already University namesake Justus von Liebig had brought together international scientists at the University of Giessen. Professor Thilo Marauhn was delighted that this tradition has been preserved to this day. The holder of the Chair of Public Law and International Law was impressed by the fact that “so many students from so many countries come to Giessen to learn together here.” He was proud to say that the “summer schools” were so much international. “They are at the heart of our international exchange programs and help to make Giessen known everywhere.” Prof. Anuj Desai from the JLU partner University of Wisconsin Law School praised the programs as “an important cooperation between the universities, which is organized by the JLU in an outstanding way”. Program coordinator Magdalena Jas-Nowopolska also emphasized: “The programs mean not only mean studying, but also bringing together people from different countries.”

When the certificate was given, each participant was celebrated loudly during the walk across the stage. But there was also a little melancholy in the air, for the time spent in Germany had come to an end. For some, however, this does not mean a farewell forever. Laura Catalina Guerrero from Colombia wants to apply for a master’s degree in Hamburg. “In the past four weeks, I’ve been totally in love with Germany, and there is so much to see and learn,” said the 23-year-old criminologist. But she will miss the time in Giessen because it is such a “dynamic and student-perfect city”. Bhagirath Singh Ashiya from India feels similar. “I liked it here very much,” enthused the 23-year-old law student. He was particularly impressed by “the transparent legal system and German efficiency”. But most of all, the many green areas in the cities fascinated him. “We do not have that at home”.

After the ceremony, the students celebrated one last time with their newly won friends until late in the evening. Because the next morning it was time to say good-bye and return to their respective home countries. Both programs were organized by the Franz von Liszt Institute at the JLU Faculty of Law.


Continue reading “It Is Not Too Early to Plan for Study Abroad in 2018”

A New Year, New Guest Bloggers!

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Photo of Attorney Albert Bianchi in professional attire.

Headshot of law student Matt Sowden. We have two guest bloggers for the month of September to help us get the new academic year off to a good start.

Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Albert (“A.J.”) Bianchi, Jr.  A.J. is an attorney at Michael Best and Friedrich LLP where he focuses his litigation practice on intellectual property and federal court matters, including cases involving patent, trademark and copyright infringement, contract disputes, and class actions. He also litigates cases in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota state courts, and has experience with jury trials in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Before joining Michael Best, A.J. served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin for the Honorable William M. Conley, the Honorable Barbara B. Crabb, and the Honorable John C. Shabaz.  He is a 2007 graduate of the Marquette University Law School.

Our Student Blogger of the month is Matt Sowden.  Matt is a Second Year law student who is quick to give credit to his “wonderful, supportive wife and two amazing daughters.”  He was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa and served six years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear electrician on submarines. After his enlistment, Matt attended Drake University where he graduated with a double major in economics and politics. He then worked various jobs for a few years, from warehouse manager to table games supervisor at a casino. During his first year at Marquette University Law School, Matt volunteered at Milwaukee Justice Center’s Family Forms Clinic and at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic. As for his future career in law, Matt says: “I am still searching for my preferred area of practice.”

Welcome A.J. and Matt.  We look forward to reading your posts this month.


Things Are Heating Up in Germany

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Approximately 60 law students pose for a group photo in front of the law school building at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.cThe 2017 Summer Session in International and Comparative Law is off to a hot start, matching the temperature in Giessen, Germany.  In this photo, you see a mix of jet-lagged law students from all over the world posing outside of the law school at Justus Liebig University (you can also see me and Professor Anuj Desai from the University of Wisconsin).  The students attended orientation this past Sunday, and then set off on a “city rally” in which small teams of students competed to locate different check-in points located throughout the city of Giessen.  It was a fun way to get introduced to their new surroundings.  Then it was back to the law school for the group photo and a Welcome Dinner.

Our 10 Marquette Law School participants have now joined their classmates (and new friends) from countries that include Brazil, Colombia, Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, and Portugal, and have completed three days of classes.  Interest and enrollment appears equally divided among our four course offerings: 1) International Economic Law and Business Transactions, 2) Comparative Constitutional Law, 3) Business Ethics and Human Rights, and 4) CyberLaw.

Following the last class on Thursday, the students will board buses for a 3 day field trip to Berlin and surrounding sights.  At this pace, the four weeks of the program will fly by.  However, I happen to know that some of the U.S. students have still found time during this first week to visit a local beer garden and participate in a karaoke night.

Our program is open to any law student in the United States attending an accredited law school.  Details on the 10th annual Summer Session, scheduled to begin July 14, 2018, will be available this fall.  Watch this space for course, faculty and tuition information.

Welcome Our July Guest Blogger

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A fireworks display in the night sky showing a burst of red color.On this sunny Fourth of July, please join me in welcoming our Student Blogger for the month of July, Alex Castro.

Alex is currently a rising 3L at Marquette University Law School. He was born and raised in south Florida and graduated from the University of Florida in 2014. He has a life-long interest in sports, music and traveling. Alex hopes to pursue a career in corporate and business transactional law, and this summer he is working for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company in Milwaukee.  He is also participating in the Law School’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. During his law school career, Alex has been active in the Hispanic community, and he plans on continuing his commitment to inclusion and diversity during his legal career through his membership in professional and legal organizations.

Welcome, Alex, and we look forward to reading your posts.

Welcome June Bloggers!

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We would like to welcome our guest bloggers for the month of June to the Faculty Blog.

Our Alumni Blogger for June is Kristin D. Hardy, Compliance Counsel at Rockwell Automation, Inc., the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation, headquartered in Milwaukee. As Compliance Counsel, Kristen focuses on the areas of regulatory compliance, third party anti-corruption, and bribery. Additionally, she handles internal ethics investigations across the global enterprise, while assisting with communications, messaging, and training related to the compliance & ethics program.

Kristen graduated from Marquette in 2014, where she served as the President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). She was also an editorial staff member of the Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review, and a MWBLSA Thurgood Marshall mock trial captain and participant.  Kristen currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers (WAAL), an organization dedicated to ensuring diversity in Wisconsin’s legal community through community service and professional partnerships. She was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the State Bar of Wisconsin. Kristen has presented at national legal conferences, including the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting (2016) and Chief Litigation Officer Summit (2016). More recently, Kristen was a recipient of the 2017 National Summit of Black Women Lawyers Emerging Leader Award, and a member of the inaugural class of G. Lane Ware Leadership Academy through the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Our Student Blogger for the month of June is Hannah Dockendorff.  Prior to joining Marquette University Law School, Hannah graduated summa cum laude from Cardinal Stritch University with a bachelor of arts in history. During that time, she promoted education in history and science while working for the Distance Learning Program in the Milwaukee Public Museum. Hannah also has a lengthy history of serving others, for example working with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. to integrate recently released convicts into the local community.  While at Marquette, Hannah focused her studies upon immigration and other related legal matters. This resulted in Hannah providing legal assistance for the Milwaukee Justice Center, the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic, Catholic Charities Immigration Services, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Equal Rights Division. Hannah also was recently awarded a CALI for International Intellectual Property. Hannah Dockendorff is a newly minted May 2017 graduate of the Law School with Pro Bono Honors for over 120 honors of service.

We look forward to reading your posts!

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!