Jury Duty in de Tocqueville’s Time and in the Present

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Alexis de Tocqueville was a French aristocrat sent by his country to inspect American penitentiaries during the 1830s.  He dutifully delivered his report, but he also found himself interested in more than penitentiaries.  In Democracy in America (1835), he provided a wide-ranging and to this day highly regarded account of life in the youthful, rambunctious American Republic.  Somewhat surprisingly, de Tocqueville discussed at length the role and function of jury duty.

photo of jury summons

Although de Tocqueville recognized the jury as a “juridical institution,” that is, a body that renders verdicts, he was more interested in the jury as a “political institution.”  He argued that the jury “puts the real control of affairs into the hands of the ruled, or some of them, rather than into those of the rulers.”  The jury was a vehicle through which the citizenry could exercise its sovereignty.

What’s more, jury duty struck de Tocqueville as a “free school.”  “Juries, especially civil juries,” he thought, “instill some of the habits of the judicial mind into every citizen, and just those habits are the very best way of preparing people to be free.”  As a form of “popular education,” jury duty offers practical lessons in the law and teaches jurors their rights under the law.

Overall, de Tocqueville was pleased Americans took eagerly to jury duty and felt robust, active juries were extremely important in the success of the nation.  Jury duty, he said, “makes men pay attention to things other than their own affairs” and thereby “combat that individual selfishness which is like rust in society.”

How disappointed de Tocqueville would be learn how people perceive jury duty in the present.  While people who actually serve on juries tend to say their experiences were positive ones, a huge percentage of Americans dread receiving a summons for jury duty and do their best to avoid serving.  Websites such as “How to Get Out of Jury Duty” and “10 Ways to Avoid Jury Duty” are popular. Continue reading “Jury Duty in de Tocqueville’s Time and in the Present”

Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports

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Will this summer be a turning point for college athletics?

The full answer to that is complex, multi-faceted, and, of course, still to emerge. But two experts in sports law summarized their responses concisely during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program, posted on the Marquette Law School web site on May 27:

“I think so,” said Steve Ross, Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State University and Executive Director of the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society.

Are we at a watershed moment for college sports?

“I think we are,” said Professor Matt Mitten, executive director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School. “We’re coming to a crossroads within the next month.” Continue reading “Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports”

Can a Task Force’s Agreement on Controversial Ideas Spur a Better Tone in Politics?

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She’s a D, he’s an R. But State Rep. Shelia Stubbs, a Democrat from Madison who is Black, and State Rep. Jim Steineke, a Republican from Kaukauna who is majority leader of the Assembly and who is white, also are friends who have confidence that the other will act in good faith.

If you expected them not to work together in leading the Speaker’s Task Force on Racial Disparities, created by the Republican leader of the Assembly, Rep .Robin Vos, and if you expected the task force not to come to agreement on a proposals for legislation focused on law enforcement issues that have stirred controversy, you were wrong.

In an “On the issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School web site on May 19, Steineke and Stubbs were optimistic that the 18 proposals from the task force would become law before the end of June. They also expressed hope that the way they worked together could help change the contentious tone of so much that goes in Wisconsin politics. Continue reading “Can a Task Force’s Agreement on Controversial Ideas Spur a Better Tone in Politics?”

From Diverse Standpoints, Experts Agree on the Need for Re-energizing K-12 Education

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This story about the discussion during a program of the Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy and Civic Education appeared initially in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 2, 2021.

Pedro Noguera and Rick Hess talk to many school superintendents and principals around the United States. In general, they don’t find them to be oriented toward the sharp partisan divides that dominate education debate.

“When you talk to people who lead school systems, they are less ideological,” Noguera said. “They focus on practical matters.”

By “practical matters,” Noguera meant the daily things that lead to kids getting good educations, things like good teachers, good learning practices, and school cultures that offer warmth, safety and stability. Those are things he hopes will be given renewed priority as education recovers from the COVID pandemic.

“If there’s a silver lining to come from this experience with respect to education, I hope it’s a return to a focus on education that stimulates and inspires kids,” Noguera wrote in a book, co-authored with Hess, that came out several weeks ago. Continue reading “From Diverse Standpoints, Experts Agree on the Need for Re-energizing K-12 Education”

Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities

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Enormous selection, good prices, quick delivery, the safety and comfort of shopping from home – what’s not to like about Amazon?

Mike Gousha put that question to Alec MacGillis, in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School’s web site on April 21, 2021.

“There’s a lot not to like,” MacGillis answered. He spells out what he means – as well as the reasons so many people love Amazon – in a broad and deep look at the company and its impact in his new book, “Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America.” And he described much of what he found in researching the book in his conversation with Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading “Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities”

Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say

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You want to do something about the partisan polarization that puts the United States Congress into frequent gridlock? Katherine Gehl and Austin Ramirez say there is a solution that has nothing to do with any specific policy or how people define themselves when it comes to partisanship: Change the way Congress members are elected.

“It turns out what really matters is the system, the rules of the game,” Gehl said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School web site on April 8, 2021. The game she referred to is the way politicians get re-elected. Single-party primary elections motivate them to take highly partisan positions that play to small, but decisive blocks of voters within their party.

“Currently the system pushes – forces — the sides apart,” Gehl said. What’s best in the big picture doesn’t count the way that it counts to do what’s best for winning a party primary or keeping others from launching primary challenges.

“Our task is to make keeping the job the same as getting results for the country,” she told Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading “Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say”

Congratulations to the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Moot Court, PublicLeave a comment» on Congratulations to the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

screenshot of zoom moot court competition, with head shots of three judges and four competitorsCongratulations to the winners of the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Ben Edelstein and Kyle Frank. Congratulations also go to finalists Alexander Lux and Natalie Mulvey. Frank won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist. Ashleigh Dickey and Matt Rademacher won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief.

 

Presiding over the final round were Hon. Paul Thissen (Minnesota Supreme Court), Hon. Michael Y. Scudder (United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), and Hon. Cynthia M. Davis (L’06) (Milwaukee County Circuit Court). This year’s final round was held virtually on Zoom but livestreamed over YouTube. More than 70 people watched the final round on YouTube.

 

Many thanks to the law school’s media and tech team for making all the tech magic happen. Thank you, too, to the law school administrators and staff who helped coordinate the event and to Dean Kearney for his support of the competition and his front-line presence as host. And special thanks to 3L Kelsey Pelegrin, who handled the details of the competition.

 

Students are selected to participate in the competition based on their success in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy class at the Law School.

 

Here is a link to a recording of the final round.

Jenkins Competitors Have Busy Weekend; Two Teams Advance to Finals

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head shot of Ben Edelstein
Ben Edelstein
head shot of Kyle Frank
Kyle Frank

(Updated 3/30/21 12:25 PM to add registration link)

The last two weekends have been busy ones for the students competing in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition. Each team argued four times the weekend of March 20-21 in the preliminary rounds to determine which teams would advance to the quarterfinal round.

On Saturday, March 27, the eight teams that advanced argued to see which would advance to the semifinals.

head shot of Alex Lux
Alexander Lux
head shot of Natalie Mulvey
Natalie Mulvey

After some very close rounds, four teams moved on to the semifinals. Those four teams were:

Alexandra (Sasha) Chepov & Zak Wroblewski;
Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank;
Lauren Brasington & Carsyn Bushman;
Alexander Lux & Natalie Mulvey

These four teams competed on Sunday, March 28. The two teams that emerged as finalists are:

Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank
Alexander Lux & Natalie Mulvey

Congratulations to the finalists, and thank you to the many alumni and area attorneys who helped with the competition by grading briefs or judging oral arguments. Thanks, too, to the law school’s tech department and to Steve Nelson who kept this weekend’s virtual competition glitch-free.

The final round of the competition will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 6, at 3:30 PM, and will be lived streamed on YouTube.

The final round will be judged by The Honorable Michael Y. Scudder (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), The Honorable Paul Thissen (Minnesota Supreme Court), and The Honorable Cynthia M. Davis (L’06) (Milwaukee County Circuit Court).

The Jenkins Completion is named in honor of the late James G. Jenkins, the first Wisconsin judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1893-1905) and the first dean of Marquette Law School (1908-1915).

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to receive the link. You can register here.

Institute for Women’s Leadership Releases Report on Law Firm Equity Initiative

Posted on Categories Feminism, Labor & Employment Law, Legal Profession, Public1 Comment on Institute for Women’s Leadership Releases Report on Law Firm Equity Initiative

As part of Women’s History Month, the Marquette University Institute for Women’s Leadership released its first white paper, entitled Law Firm Equity Initiative, examining the status of women in the Milwaukee legal market.  (This survey went out to all firms with over 10 attorneys in the metro area—more on methodology in the report itself.)  I am honored to be the author of this report knowing that transparency is step one in bringing about any change.

My motivation for doing this study came from watching the remarkable progress that companies in Wisconsin have made in the last few years in terms of placing women on their boards. Inspired by what transparency and peer pressure has accomplished in the corporate world, I hope that we can hold a mirror to our legal community and also ask what we can do better.

When I graduated law school (don’t ask—it was a long time ago) and did not see women in leadership roles, I was told it was a pipeline issue—just give it time and women would ascend to the heights of leadership once there were equal number of women graduating.  So, has that story played out?  Not so much. Continue reading “Institute for Women’s Leadership Releases Report on Law Firm Equity Initiative”

Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors Advance to Quarterfinals

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Congratulations to the students in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition who have moved on to the quarterfinal round of the competition. The students will be competing on Saturday, March 27 to determine which teams will be advancing to the semifinal round on Sunday, March 28 at noon.

The following teams will be competing in the quarterfinals:

Zak Wroblewski & Alexandra (Sasha) Chepov
Morgan Minter & Taylor Van Zeeland
Ashleigh Dickey & Matt Rademacher
Charlie Hoffmann & Kevin Landgraf
Thomas Sucevic & Christopher Vandeventer
Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank
Lauren Brasington & Carsyn Bushman
Alex Lux & Natalie Mulvey

Congratulations to all the participants in the competition. We also very much appreciate the alumni and other attorneys who volunteer to grade briefs and serve as judges in the preliminary rounds. We appreciate their time and assistance every year.

This year, an extra special thanks to Erik Atwell and the law school tech department for their assistance with managing three simultaneous virtual courtrooms with up to 24 people at eight different times over the weekend.

The final round of the Jenkins competition will take place on Tuesday, April 6 at 3:30 PM.

We’re honored to welcome the following distinguished jurists who will judge the final round:

Hon. Cynthia M. Davis (L’06), Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Hon. Michael Y. Scudder, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Hon. Paul Thissen, Minnesota Supreme Court

The final competition will be virtually on Zoom but will be livestreamed to the public.

State Economic Development Leader Sees Growth Ahead, but Problems to Solve

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation generally focused on larger projects aimed at building up the state’s economy, which is to say, the quasi-public agency made about 300 grants a year.

But with the impact the coronavirus had on economic life in Wisconsin, “we had to invent a bunch of tools to help businesses,” Missy Hughes, the secretary and CEO of WEDC, said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Wednesday (March 18, 2021).

The result? WEDC has made more than 60,000 grants during the pandemic period, the large number of them to small businesses seeking federal money intended to help those businesses stay alive.

As much as the grants have helped  and as much as business owners and operators have shown grit, resiliency and creativity in what they are doing, Hughes told Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, that she was concerned that 20 percent to 30 percent of small businesses statewide would not survive the pandemic. Continue reading “State Economic Development Leader Sees Growth Ahead, but Problems to Solve”

Honoring RBG & Women Judges With 9K

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three women in running clothes sitting on or standing by a picnic table
(left to right) Annie Grove, Greta Hilgendorf, and Colleen Mandell rest after finishing 4k.

Instead of its usual spring gathering—Women Judges’ Night—the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) sponsored the When There Are 9K Run/Walk. Marquette Law School was one of its sponsors.

According to AWL, “The title and length of this event are a tribute to the incredible and irreplaceable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Justice Ginsburg was once asked when there would be enough women on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her response: “When there are nine.”

group of women in running clothes standing outside in the cold
(left to right) Annalisa Pusick, Colleen Mandell, Director Erin Binns, Professor Lisa Mazzie, Dean Angela Schultz, Greta Hilgendorf, and Annie Grove prepare to run. Not pictured: Madeline Lewis and Aimee Trevino. Photo credit: Lily Binns

The virtual run/walk began officially today—March 15—on what would have been Justice Ginsburg’s 88th birthday. Our challenge: to walk or run a total of 9K during this week. Some of us already met up to knock out 4K.

close up of two women with masks
Pusick and Director Binns finish 4K.

Money raised by the run/walk benefits the AWL Foundation’s scholarship program for female law students at Wisconsin law schools. Each year, two Marquette students receive those scholarships. Last year’s recipients were 2L Liz Simonis and 3L Kelly Ryan.