Between finishing college and starting law school, Amy Lindner spent a year working at an auto repair shop in Waukesha. She says she learned valuable things, beyond how her car works.
One lesson was that every job has dignity and deserves respect. Another was that, in dealing with customers, she saw that “the way we treat each other just makes such an impact.” A third: When she told customers what was done for their cars, why it was needed, and why it cost what they were being charged, she found that “just being clear and kind to people is something we all can do in all of our jobs.”
Those are lessons that serve her well in her current position as president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
Slogans are appropriate, even useful, for rallies or marches. In-depth thought is what should be expected from law schools. The Fall 2020 issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine offers a weighty serving of the latter, while examining implications of the former.
With the overall title of “The Crime and Society Issue,” the new magazine’s cover package features three pieces focusing on assessing and potentially improving the criminal justice system, from the time of an arrest through the charging and court processes, and ways of sanctioning people who commit crimes. Each piece features expertise and insight presented at Eckstein Hall events by scholars from coast to coast.
The lead story starts with some of the controversial ideas heard during 2020, such as “defund the police,” and explores ways the justice system could be improved when it comes to the overall safety and stability of urban communities. “The Case for Careful but Big Change” focuses in large part on the ideas of Paul Butler, the Albert Brick Professor in Law at Georgetown University, particularly as he presented them in Marquette Law School’s annual Boden Lecture and in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program (last academic year, before the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person programs at Eckstein Hall). Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Goes Deep in Looking at Crime and Society”
Last year, I watched as a law student was introduced to a lawyer volunteering at the legal clinic. The lawyer was a white man in his 60s. The student was a woman of color in her 20s, and she was wearing hijab. I happen to know that both people have hearts of gold and come to the legal clinic with a desire to help and to give their time and talents selflessly.
Nonetheless, upon being introduced, the lawyer’s first words to the law student were: “It’s nice to meet you. Are you a foreign exchange student?” The student looked confused and embarrassed as she replied, “No. I grew up here in Milwaukee.”
A similar incident happened recently when a white lawyer asked a student of color where he was born and whether he had voting privileges. Again, the student in question replied that he was born and raised in the United States.
Yet another time, a white lawyer sat down at a table with a student of color: “What can we help you with at the clinic today?” The underlying assumption was that the student must be a client.
I also remember a moment when a white lawyer worked with a Latinx student for an entire shift and remarked at the end, “You are so articulate.” Why would this be mentionable? This is a student who has a college degree, has been admitted to law school, and will have a law degree in a few years.
“Making It Personal” – that was the name of Marquette Law School’s Restorative Justice 2020 Conference. But this is a time when, like almost everywhere else, no programs are being done in person at the Law School. And making things personal on a computer screen is a challenge.
So how personal were the four sessions of the conference? Very.
At the center of four moving, thoughtful, and intimate sessions, posted in the Law School’s web page during the week of Nov. 9 through 12, was Janine Geske, distinguished professor of law (retired) and long-time head of Marquette Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative.
She was joined in two sessions by the Rev. Daniel Griffith of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Minneapolis, who is the Wenger Family Fellow of Law, St. Thomas School of Law, and Liaison to Restorative Justice and Healing, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a leader of restorative efforts in Minnesota and beyond.
In a third session, three past participants in restorative justice conferences described their own paths from being among those who have been harmed or who did harm to being among the helpers and healers for other people who have been harmed.
The focus overall was both the power and the process of restorative justice circles, the sessions that include people who have been harmed, those who have harmed them, and others who have been impacted by harmful episodes. The people in circles share personal experiences and thoughts on how they were impacted by situations in which harm occurred. They listen intently to each other, speaking only when they are holding “a talking piece,” an object that is passed around as a way of maintaining respect for each person. Continue reading “Personal and Moving Paths to Healing Are Highlighted at Restorative Justice Conference”
Warnings about forces shaping the future of the US Supreme Court were the common denominator in two virtual “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” programs in recent days. But the warnings pointed in much different directions.
In one conversation with Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, Russ Feingold, a former Democratic senator from Wisconsin who recently became president of the American Constitution Society, said that if Democrats regain control of the White House and Senate, action may be taken to respond to what he called the stealing of two US Supreme Court seats by Republicans.
Feingold said that Republicans who rapidly approved the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett are “setting off a situation where progressives and Democrats and others may have no choice but to consider the basic nature of judicial tenure or the number of members on the Supreme Court.”
“When you have been stolen form — and I will maintain that view — there needs to be compensation, there needs to be reparation, “Feingold said. “Something has to be done to undo this, or the United State Supreme Court is going to be in a freefall in terms of its credibility.”
The second seat Feingold referred to as stolen was the one denied Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 after he was nominated to the Court by President Barack Obama and Republicans refused to consider him.
The American Constitution Society is a liberal organization that is intended to counter the conservative Federalist Society, which has been deeply involved in appointments of justices and federal judges. While the American Constitution Society is not allowed to lobby on political matters, Feingold was clear on his own views and those of allies of the society.
In the other conversation, David French and Sarah Isgur, both involved with The Dispatch, a conservative multi-media organization, said that steps such as the ones Feingold described would not succeed. French is a senior editor at The Dispatch, a columnist for Time, and an author. Isgur is a staff writer for The Dispatch and a commentator on CNN. She worked formerly for the Republican National Committee and was a spokesperson for US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Continue reading “Two “On the Issues” Programs Bring Strong, But Differing Views on the Supreme Court’s Future”
Less than a mile away from the Law School, some of the country’s most important work is taking place at the Global Water Center, led by the Water Council. Water may seem like a basic right to most Americans, but across the globe, it is often a precious commodity. This will soon become a new reality in the water rich Midwest, as the demand on area water resources leads to an increasingly critical supply. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that pumping of groundwater in the Chicago-Milwaukee area from 1864 to 1980, has lowered groundwater levels by as much as 900 feet. Below is a map that illuminates the critical depletion affecting U.S. ground water supplies.
Facing the critical groundwater depletion taking place across the country over the last 100 years, Milwaukee non-profit, the Water Council, is rising to meet the challenge. The Water Council is dedicated to solving serious global water challenges by supporting innovation in freshwater technology and driving new solutions to a world that increasingly needs them. The Council has led the way through impressive collaboration—connecting 238 water technology businesses and a leadership network of 200 members from around the world. This expertise has included input from several Marquette University departments, including Marquette University Law School.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Jay McDivitt and Mathias Rekowski. Congratulations also go to finalists Michelle Knapp and Wynetta McIntosh. A video of the final round is available here.
This year, Jay McDivitt won the Jenkins Competition’s Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist, and he and teammate Mathias Rekowski won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief. Kelley Roach and Ashley Rossman were awarded second-place brief, and Xavier Jenkins and Wynetta McIntosh won third place in the briefing scores among the twelve teams in the competition. Continue reading “Results of the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Final Round”
In 2011, Dale Schultz was a Republican state senator from Richland Center and he voted for a plan created by Republicans to draw new boundaries for legislative districts in Wisconsin that helped the party grow and solidify its control of the legislature.
It’s a long-standing practice in politics. In different times and places, both Democrats and Republicans have tailored district lines to favor their party. It’s called gerrymandering.
I welcomed the recent tips on the Faculty Blog about how law students and law professors might survive the problems and stress of the pandemic. However, the thrust of the tips seemed to be that we just have to get through or move past the actual and symbolic October of our lives. Poets, by contrast, have over the years been more inclined to say we should savor October and stretch it out in our consciousness.
Printed below is what the poet Robert Frost had to say about October. The grapes mentioned in the final lines, I think, are all of us. We could be richer in mind and spirit if October lasted as long as possible. With “hearts not averse to being beguiled,” we could better take on the challenges life has thrown our way.
by Robert Frost
O Hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not adverse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” This Lenin quote has never felt more appropriate than in our past week of October. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, burnt out, ready to pack your bag and get outta Dodge—you’re not alone. As a 3L who frequently questions “why was I born during this time period?” I have begun compiling a list of things that make me feel better on those days that everything seems, well, just too 2020.
Look back to cura personalis. Care for the whole person. More than ever, now, we need our motto. We can cling to this truth when there’s nothing else to hold onto. Take care of yourself in whatever way you can.
Go for a walk outside on campus to look at the fall leaves. Walk to the MU Starbucks if you need an easy, quick destination. I am happy to walk with anyone who would like to go. I can also provide a list of drink recommendations, as I have challenged myself to try something new every day for the past few months and a sizable amount of the new things have involved food or drink.
Foley Van Lieshout, 3L I think all women feel connected in some way to Justice Ginsburg. Reading her opinions, concurrences, and dissents, I always respected and admired her reasoning, even if I didn’t agree with it. To me, Justice Ginsburg was not “Notorious RBG”; she was a giant. She had so much power. She was larger than life.
Anonymous 2L As Professor Oldfather put it in Con Law 1L year: it’s best to have a diverse set of chili recipes — not only one — all to make one great pot. RBG helped diversify the SCOTUS chili recipe in ways we never thought possible. Her contributions will be remembered forever.
Emilie Smith, 2L RBG was an example of the woman, and lawyer, I hope to be – fierce, unwavering and determined. No matter one’s political leanings, she was an impressive woman who handled every obstacle in her life with grace and perseverance. Everyone – members of the legal field as well as citizens of this country – can learn a lot from her legacy. “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Zachary Lowe, 3L Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an absolute trailblazer not only in her field, but in the entire history of humanity. Her continuous push for equality and equity for the underrepresented will never be forgotten or fade away in time. Her memory will always live on in the spirit of those who push for a better present and future for those who are given less opportunities. Thank you, Justice Ginsburg, for always fighting, even until your final days. “Fight for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” Continue reading “Students Remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg”
Nick Kristof grew up in Yamhill, Oregon, a small town about 30 miles southwest of Portland, where the economy was based on agriculture, timber, and light manufacturing. Among those who rode on the same school bus he did were kids from a family that was doing well.
But over time, the economy of the area declined, many jobs disappeared, and that family lost its stability.
Kristof, who is now 61, went on to become a Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times columnist. But all five of the children in that family and a quarter of the kids who rode that childhood school bus with Kristof died what Kristof calls “deaths of despair,” including from drug overdoses and alcohol abuse.
That’s part of the reason why Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, wrote a book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope. The bigger reason, though is that they found, as they researched the book across the United States, that what had happened to people in Yamhill was similar to what had happened to millions of working class people in urban, suburban and rural communities and of all races and backgrounds. Continue reading “Working Class Plight Calls for “Opportunity-Creating” Policies, Authors Tell Gousha”