NAAC Team Wins Fourth Best Brief at San Francisco Regional

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on NAAC Team Wins Fourth Best Brief at San Francisco Regional
pic of Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith, 3L
pic of AJ Lawton
AJ Lawton, 3L
pic of Anjali Sharma
Anjali Sharma, 3L
pic of Adam Woodside
Adam Woodside, 3L

Thirty-two teams from across the country arrived in San Francisco at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on March 1, all prepared to present oral arguments in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition regional. Two Marquette Law teams were among those.

Andrew (AJ) Lawton and Ashley Smith were seeded 10th after three rounds of argument. They advanced to the fourth round but faced a tough bench. They lost that round to one of the top four teams from the regional. However, their brief was named the fourth best in the competition. Anjali Sharma and Adam Woodside presented outstanding oral arguments in their three rounds, often facing tough questions from an engaged bench. They kept their composure throughout, achieving commendable oral argument scores.

Both teams were assisted by practitioner coaches Elleny Christopolous, Kate Maternowski, and Zachary Willenbrink (L’11). Congratulations to team members for their outstanding representation of Marquette Law.

Falling Leaves, Rising Stress Levels (Redux)

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sidewalk with fall treesFall in Wisconsin is a particularly beautiful time of the year. Crisp morning air, warm if windy afternoons, beautifully colored leaves, all things pumpkin spice. . . . (Okay, pumpkin spice is not exclusive to Wisconsin, but it is very fall-like.)

But law students may not be noticing the crisp mornings or the changing leaves because they’re huddled in the law school or the library or their homes trying to catch up on their class readings and thinking about outlining and worrying about their summer job search. It’s the time of year that law students begin to more acutely feel the stress of law school.

I wrote about falling leaves and rising stress levels exactly six years ago today, and what I said then about law school stressors still holds true today. But this morning I noticed my colleague Rachel Gurvich from University of North Carolina School of Law also posted on the “October slump” in law school, particularly focusing on 1Ls. She offers seven specific tips to help 1Ls get through this hectic time: (1) Understand that law school is a marathon, not a sprint; (2) remember that hard work alone doesn’t necessarily correlate with success; (3) you do you; (4) enjoy activities outside of law school; (5) make some friends in law school; (6) tune out external noise about law school “success”; and (7) talk to your professors.

Professor Gurvich’s seven tips are spot on and deserve a look, so take a break from your work and give her post a read.

And remember, this, too, shall pass.


Coping in Difficult Times

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young man looking stressedOn Monday morning, we awoke to the horrific news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which left 59 dead and more than 500 injured. This news came on top of the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, which followed devastation in Florida and Houston caused by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Add to these terrible events the dizzying array of national news items that emerge daily from Washington, D.C., and it seems we are continually operating in crisis mode.

Many of our students are undoubtedly personally affected by these events—for example, I currently have several students who have family in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Houston—but even those of us who aren’t directly affected by such events might be feeling overwhelmed.

Continually operating in crisis mode is not a healthy normal state of being. Law school and lawyering are stressful enough without the added stressors of what may feel like a world in crisis. Continue reading “Coping in Difficult Times”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Lambert and Manjee

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Aliya Manjee

Elisabeth Lambert

Today, September 26, 2017, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored two Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Aliya Manjee, 2L (pictured at left), received the AWL Foundation scholarship. The AWL Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a woman who has exhibited service to others, diversity, compelling financial need, academic achievement, unique life experiences (such as overcoming obstacles to attend or continue law school), and advancement of women in the profession. Continue reading “Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Lambert and Manjee”

Constitution Day 2017: Both Sides Now – Judges Reflect on the Constitution

Posted on Categories Constitutional Interpretation, Constitutional Law, Judges & Judicial Process, Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Constitution Day 2017: Both Sides Now – Judges Reflect on the Constitution

A wooden judge's gavel lies atop of a copy of the United States Constitution.On September 17, 1787, the founders signed our United States Constitution, an event we commemorate every September 17 with Constitution Day.

Marquette University will celebrate Constitution Day on Monday, September 18. On that day, we will welcome to the Law School Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge Brian K. Hagedorn, Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Gwen Connolly, and Federal District Judge Lynn Adelman (Eastern District of Wisconsin). Each of the panelists will select a constitutional provision and explain why that section is meaningful to him or her. We will also highlight the National Constitution Center’s new Interactive Constitution, a website that contains the entire Constitution and all of its amendments, along with commentary on each section that shows that section’s history and its common understandings, along with commentary that illustrates divergent views.

The complimentary program will run from noon until 1 p.m., and there will be a light lunch and cake. This event is open to Marquette students; however, registration is required.

Constitution Day 2017 is presented by Marquette Law School and the Political Science Department. The event is co-sponsored by the student chapter of the American Constitution Society and the student chapter of the Federalist Society.

Both Sides Now: The Interactive Constitution

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Constitution & GavelI recently learned about an amazing feature on the National Constitution Center website: an interactive Constitution. The site contains the entire United States Constitution and all of its amendments.

Click on any part—the Preamble, any of the seven articles, or any of the 27 amendments—and view the text of that part, along with the dates of its signing or passage and its ratification. You’ll also learn if any part of the Constitution was changed by an amendment.  Article I contains several sections that were changed by later amendments. For example, click on the highlighted text in Article I, section 3 (“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote”) to learn that this section was changed by the 17th Amendment, which allows for the direct popular election of senators.

The most interesting part, however, is that you’ll also get views from constitutional scholars “across the legal and philosophical spectrum.” Continue reading “Both Sides Now: The Interactive Constitution”

Woman Interrupted: The Pernicious Problem That’s Not Just in Our Heads

Posted on Categories Federal Law & Legal System, Feminism, Judges & Judicial Process, Legal Profession, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public2 Comments on Woman Interrupted: The Pernicious Problem That’s Not Just in Our Heads

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his contacts with Russian officials in Washington D.C. and his conversations with the President about the Russia investigation or about former F.B.I. Director James B. Comey.

The hearing has been called “at times fiery” and Sessions’ testimony “highly contentious.” Indeed, several Democratic senators engaged in some testy back-and-forth with Sessions, with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden saying that Sessions’ answers did not “pass the smell test” and New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich declaring that Sessions “[is] obstructing.”

But the grilling of Sessions that has probably received the most attention is that of California Senator Kamala Harris, a junior senator and former California attorney general. Senator Harris was questioning Sessions about his many non-answer answers at the hearing. Sessions claimed he was not answering due to long-standing Justice Department policy. Senator Harris pushed Sessions on this policy.

The New York Times described Senator Harris’ questioning style as “a rapid-fire . . . pace more commonly seen in courtrooms—a style that at times has her interrupting witnesses.” During her questioning, she was interrupted by both Arizona Senator John McCain and by North Carolina Senator Richard M. Burr, the chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Both men suggested that Sessions be allowed to answer. This was the second time in two weeks that Senator Harris has been interrupted by Senators Burr and McCain. Last week, she was interrupted by them while questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Following the Sessions testimony, Jason Miller, a panelist on CNN, referred to Senator Harris as “hysterical,” most certainly a gendered analysis. CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers called out Miller’s gendered statement and pointed out how Miller believed neither Senators Harris (a woman of color) nor Wyden (a man) were “trying to get to the bottom of answers,” yet Miller called only Senator Harris “hysterical.”)

Earlier this year, during a Senate debate about Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was interrupted and then formally rebuked by Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about then-U.S. attorney Jeff Sessions, who had been nominated at that time for a federal judgeship. The letter had criticized Sessions for using “the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.” (The Senate rejected Sessions’ nomination for that federal judgeship.) Later, three male senators read the same letter on the Senate floor, and none were rebuked.

Maybe Harris’ and Warren’s treatment is all about rules of decorum in the Senate. Decorum may be part of it; more than that, though, it appears to be the ages-old pernicious pattern of men interrupting women. It happens to most women, much of the time, in both personal and professional settings.

Continue reading “Woman Interrupted: The Pernicious Problem That’s Not Just in Our Heads”

Bill O’Reilly & Fox News: Does Money Matter More Than Doing the Right Thing?

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Feminism, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, Public, Tort Law3 Comments on Bill O’Reilly & Fox News: Does Money Matter More Than Doing the Right Thing?

Yesterday, Fox News ousted Bill O’Reilly, who for two decades was the top-rated host with his show, The O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly’s blustery on-air persona—which inspired Stephen Colbert to create ultraconservative pundit Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Show—minced no words, ever.

As a result, he often said outrageous, offensive, if not downright inaccurate things on the air. For example, he said that the slaves who built the White House were “well-fed and had decent lodging provided by the government.” He called child hunger “a total lie,” and said that feminists should not be allowed to report on Trump “because Trump is the antithesis of” feminism. He’s also been known to make inappropriate comments to women on the air.

O’Reilly’s personal conduct (like that of his former boss Roger Ailes before him) apparently has been similarly offensive. Over the course of his time at Fox News, O’Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior involving both women at the network who worked for him and women who appeared as guests on his show. Continue reading “Bill O’Reilly & Fox News: Does Money Matter More Than Doing the Right Thing?”

Equal Pay Day, Rhetoric, and Reality

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Today was Equal Pay Day, the date that indicates how much longer a woman had to work to earn what a man earned in the previous year. More than 20 years ago, the National Committee on Pay Equity started selecting one day a year—always a Tuesday in April—to highlight the continued disparity between men’s and women’s wages.

Now, you can quibble with me about the precise numbers or you can try to explain to me that there isn’t really a gender gap (both of which have been done and probably will be done again); however, as the Pew Research Center noted last summer, though some groups of women have narrowed the gap, there in fact remains some gap in wages between white men and all groups of women.

Much of that gap in wages can be explained by differing levels of education, workforce experience, or occupation. But even when you control for all of those more concrete and measurable variables, there remains an unexplained gap that may—may not—have to do with gender discrimination. Continue reading “Equal Pay Day, Rhetoric, and Reality”

NAAC Team Advances to Octofinals in Boston

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After three rounds of oral argument at the National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) regional in Boston this past weekend, Marquette University Law School students Tamara Johnson (3L) and Henry Twomey (3L) (pictured) were 2-1 and seeded ninth out of 32 teams. Johnson and Twomey advanced to the octofinals, but unfortunately lost a close match to another team. Attorneys (and former NAAC competitors) Lucas Bennewitz (L’15), Hiriam Bradley (L’16), Jesse Blocher (L’06), Michael Cerjack (L’08) coached the team.

Barry Braatz (3L), Alexandra Klimko (3L), and Brianna Meyer (3L) also competed in the Boston regional, facing tough competition each round. Their team was coached by attorneys Elleny Christopolous and Kate Maternowski, both of whom were former NAAC competitors for their law schools, and Zach Willenbrink (L’11). Professor Lisa Mazzie is the faculty advisor for both teams.

The NAAC is sponsored by the American Bar Association Law Student Division.


A New Era: The Rule of Law in the Trump Administration

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Federal Law & Legal System, Federalism, First Amendment, Human Rights, Immigration Law, Labor & Employment Law, Legal History, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Race & Law1 Comment on A New Era: The Rule of Law in the Trump Administration

Well, here we are, January 20, 2017, and Donald J. Trump has been sworn in as this nation’s 45th president, though he achieved that position by losing the popular vote by the widest margin of any winning candidate in recent history (2.9 million more people voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton), and he arrives at his new position with the lowest approval rating of any president in recent history.

As numerous others before me have written, President Trump’s campaign was not traditional in any number of ways, and I expect that his presidency will follow that trend. For some, that’s been the whole point. For others, that’s a less-than-inspiring harbinger. I wrote this summer about my concern about the candidate’s rhetoric, proposed policies, and the rule of law.

Though he has since backed off some of his campaign promises (for example, about having a special prosecutor investigate rival Clinton for her use of a private email server—a favorite chant at his rallies was “Lock her up!”), nothing since that time has changed my view. I continue to believe that the president won’t be appreciably different from the candidate. Continue reading “A New Era: The Rule of Law in the Trump Administration”

An Election Day Primer for Wisconsin Voters*

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Election Law, Milwaukee, Public1 Comment on An Election Day Primer for Wisconsin Voters*

Voting_United_StatesTomorrow is Election Day. It’s important to vote, so make sure you know where and when you can cast your ballot. New for Wisconsin voters this year is a photo identification requirement. I break down the voting process below to demystify and clarify it.

The main thing, though, is to vote. Even if you don’t like your choices for president, there are down-ballot races, including a state-wide U.S. Senate race between Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson and any number of races for federal or state representatives and other local officials, for which your vote matters. Continue reading “An Election Day Primer for Wisconsin Voters*”