Whose maps are least changed of all?   

Posted on Categories Election Law, Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on Whose maps are least changed of all?   

This blog post continues the focus of the Law School’s Lubar Center on redistricting

Change, like beauty, appears to be in the eye of the beholder.

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that new legislative and congressional district maps must change as little as legally possible from the current maps, observers saw it as a win for the Republicans and conservatives who sought that ruling. Democrats have condemned the maps drawn in 2011 as an extreme partisan gerrymander that has locked in GOP control of the Legislature for the past decade.

But while least-change maps are sure to be Republican-majority maps, they’re not necessarily going to be the same maps that the GOP-controlled Legislature approved last year, only to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. And the ruling hasn’t driven all the rival map-changers out of the courtroom.

Instead, Justice Rebecca Bradley’s majority opinion has prompted a legal debate over exactly what “least change” means—and a contest in which nearly all of the parties are competing to convince the court that their preferred maps would change less than those submitted by their opponents. Continue reading “Whose maps are least changed of all?   “

Texas Deputies and S.B. 8

Posted on Categories Civil Procedure, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Texas Deputies and S.B. 8

If you’re like the rest of the United States, then you are aware of the recent attempts to restrict the right to abortion pre-viability — a right affirmed by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v Casey., 505 U.S. 833. Despite the holding in Planned Parenthood, States continue to pass legislation restricting abortion. In some States, these attempts are no more than a brazen attempt to ban nontherapeutic pre-viability abortions.

By the end of 2021, some fifteen States had passed legislation that banned non-therapeutic pre-viability abortions, commonly referred to as “Heartbeat bills.” (As of this writing, the states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.) Though neither the progenitor nor the ultimate occurrence, S.B. 8, passed by Texas’s legislature and signed into law by Governor Abbott, has created rather significant waves in the legal landscape. Perhaps predictably, other States have emulated Texas’s approach, an approach that some commentators call the most restrictive abortion legislation to be passed post-Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113). A quick perusal of one’s favorite internet search engine will reveal the myriad commentary discussing the ways in which Texas and other States have been ingeniously skirting the dictates of the Supreme Court.

So, what is it that makes Texas’s legislation so newsworthy? Truly, it is not the restrictions that Texas has imposed that makes this law exceptional. After all, States have been passing restrictions on abortion long before the right was recognized by the Supreme Court. It is, also, not the fact that Texas is attempting to make it impossible for women, other than victims of rape and incest, to obtain an abortion once a heartbeat is detected; Texas is hardly novel in its endeavors in this area. What makes Senate Bill 8 so exceptional is its novel enforcement scheme. Continue reading “Texas Deputies and S.B. 8”

No Exit

Posted on Categories Election Law, Political Processes & Rhetoric, PublicLeave a comment» on No Exit

Prof. Rick Hasen of UCLA, an expert in election law, had an op-ed in Friday’s New York Times that argued that in the wake of the 2020 election and its aftermath, including the January 6th attack on Congress, “[w]e must not succumb to despair on indifference. It won’t be easy, but there is a path forward if we begin acting now, together, to shore up our fragile election ecosystem.”

Unfortunately, I disagree. The fact that there is no path forward unless X, Y, and Z happen does not mean that X, Y, and Z will happen. It could well be that there is no path forward. And no path is likely to be available until a significant portion of the American public fundamentally change their present views about their society and their fellow citizens. Continue reading “No Exit”

The Last Bastion

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, Legal Profession, PublicLeave a comment» on The Last Bastion

The United States, like most democracies, takes pride in being governed by the “rule of law”; it aspires to be what John Adams once called “a government of laws and not of men.” There’s a sense, in this imagery, that law is something distinct from human beings; that it’s a sort of machine, that operates autonomously to generate answers to legal questions.

Of course, as the legal realists recognized, that’s all transcendental nonsense. Laws do not apply themselves, they are written and interpreted and applied by human beings. But a rule of laws that is subject to the whims of individual decisionmakers is no rule at all. Believing in the rule of law requires a sort of leap of faith. It requires a form of trust that other actors in the system, even ordinary citizens, will generally coalesce around the same outcomes and interpretations.

And that sort of trust — any sort of trust in institutions, including law — is breaking down. Faith in courts to provide the law, and faith in lawyers to be able to say what the law is, will fade with it. And after that, in the words of Felix Frankfurter: “first chaos, then tyranny.” Continue reading “The Last Bastion”

2022 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on 2022 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors

The Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition is the appellate moot court competition for Marquette law students and is the capstone intramural event of the moot court program. Students are invited to participate based on their top performance in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy course at the Law School.

Congratulations to the following students who were selected to the 2022 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition:

Jake Apostolu
Tristan Bednarek
James Carpenter
Hunter Cone
John Curran
Ilana Friedman
Travis Goeden
Anne Gonring
Bailey Groh Rasmussen
Alesha Guenther
Nolan Heck
Munifeh Jaber
Nicole Jennings
Samantha Jozwiak
Kyle Kasper
Matthew Kass
Abigail Kincheloe
Ruth Nord-Pekar
Robyn Shepard
Ronald Tenuta
Aimeé Treviño
Rose Vanelderen
Meghan Wallace
Emily Ward
Austin Wesner
Jessica Zimpfer

The preliminary rounds of competition be held on March 26-27, 2022, with the winning teams progressing through the quarterfinals, then semifinals, to the final round. Stay tuned for more details.

Any questions about the competition should be directed to Lauren Brasington, Associate Justice of Intramural Competitions.

Black, Brown, and White: Differing Views on Redistricting Involve More than Red and Blue

Posted on Categories Election Law, Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on Black, Brown, and White: Differing Views on Redistricting Involve More than Red and Blue

This blog post continues the focus of the Law School’s Lubar Center on redistricting

More than two colors matter in redrawing district maps.

In Wisconsin, public and media attention has focused largely on how much red and blue show up in each proposed legislative or congressional map, reflecting the partisan balance of power between Republicans and Democrats.

But redistricting is also a portrait in black, brown, and white, with district lines under scrutiny for how they affect the rights of Black and Hispanic voters to choose their preferred representatives. And as state and local redistricting debates show, federal court decisions have left a lot of gray areas in interpreting those legal rights. Continue reading “Black, Brown, and White: Differing Views on Redistricting Involve More than Red and Blue”

Welcome to Our January Guest Blogger!

Posted on Categories Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Welcome to Our January Guest Blogger!

Our Student Contributor for January is 2L Daniel Kafka. Daniel is a Milwaukee native who grew up in the Story Hill neighborhood, near what some of us still call Miller Park. He is eager to practice litigation, particularly business litigation, but may also harbor an interest in transactional law. His non-legal interests include fantasy novels, disc golf in Estabrook Park, and storyboarding a video game he hopes to create with some friends. He lives with his partner Abigail and his dog Nero (an English Bull Terrier) in the Murray Hill neighborhood. Welcome Daniel!

Pro Bono Work Brings Law Students to Fort McCoy to Help Afghans Seek Asylum

Posted on Categories Immigration Law, Pro Bono, PublicLeave a comment» on Pro Bono Work Brings Law Students to Fort McCoy to Help Afghans Seek Asylum

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”

Combating Partisan Gerrymandering Not a Focus for Wisconsin’s High Court 

Posted on Categories Election Law, Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on Combating Partisan Gerrymandering Not a Focus for Wisconsin’s High Court 

This blog post continues the focus of the Law School’s Lubar Center on redistricting

The rules of the game are set. Now the scoring begins.

In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently laid down two key guidelines that are already having a major impact on the outcome of the contest over redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional maps.

The high court’s Nov. 30 opinion dealt a one-two punch to gerrymandering opponents. In drawing new district lines, justices said they would not consider what impact those lines would have on the balance of power between the two major political parties. They also said they would make as few changes as possible to the current maps — maps that have given Republicans an almost-unbreakable hold on the state Legislature for the past decade. Continue reading “Combating Partisan Gerrymandering Not a Focus for Wisconsin’s High Court “

Interdisciplinary Research in Stormwater Management

Posted on Categories Environmental Law, Public, Water Law1 Comment on Interdisciplinary Research in Stormwater Management

When it rains or snows, the resulting runoff can collect pollutants including salts, fertilizers, chemicals, oils, and sediment, among other things. These contaminants have the potential to impair surface water and groundwater that receive the runoff. Communities in the United States face growing Stormwater flowing to a gratechallenges to effective stormwater management as a result of aging infrastructure, increasing urbanization, changing climate, and shrinking budgets, among other factors.  These changes have increasingly stressed existing “static” stormwater management systems, such as pipe networks and ponds, that are intended simply to convey storm flows to nearby receiving waters without regard to overall system conditions.

Dealing with these stressors requires innovative and resilient solutions such as real time control (RTC) or “dynamic” stormwater management systems.  RTC systems are typically automated or semi-automated and involve the use of sophisticated dynamic models to operate stormwater controls in real time, such as modifying setpoints to open and close valves, or routing storm water differently under particular system conditions.  The goal of an RTC system is to continuously regulate the flow in the various branches of a network based on real-time information related to system capacity and weather conditions, thus reducing the magnitude of outflows during storms and relieving other stresses on the system.

During a recent grant-funded project, an interdisciplinary team of Marquette law faculty, engineering faculty, and students from both disciplines studied dozens of examples involving RTC implementation in the United States and abroad.  We also examined the literature detailing institutional barriers to RTC innovation.  And we reviewed numerous legal decisions related to municipal liability for stormwater management (or mismanagement). Finally, we suggested a variety of strategies to combat these institutional and legal barriers to smooth the transition to RTC systems. Continue reading “Interdisciplinary Research in Stormwater Management”

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Highlights the “Winning Record” of the Sports Law Program and Features Various Faculty

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Marquette Lawyer Magazine, Public, Sports & LawLeave a comment» on New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Highlights the “Winning Record” of the Sports Law Program and Features Various Faculty

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”

Posted on Categories Election Law, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Elections Administrator Stands Firm: “I know I Have the Facts Behind Me”

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””