This appeared as a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 7, 2021.
As we reach the one-year mark in the greatest crisis American education has faced since the public schooling began taking its current form in the 19th Century, there are so many tangible things to be concerned about. Getting more kids back to school in person, especially now that teachers are getting vaccinated. What to do to help kids cover educational ground they didn’t cover in past months. How to use the coming summer. Money issues. Handling continuing health precautions. On and on.
But underlying the tangible issues are intangibles that also need big attention. I was involved in a virtual program on March 2 sponsored by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette College of Education on the state of K-12 education. Here are a few valuable thoughts from that session, emphasizing some of those intangibles:
Black people who have the potential to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have rarely reached that potential, given the impact of systemic racism, including the fact that few are in positions where they can take part in the networking that leads to so many opportunities.
Abim Kolawole thinks change can occur and steps being taken now will have positive impact. And he is in a major position to help that become so.
Kolawole, a top executive of Northwestern Mutual – he was recently named vice-president of “customer experience integration and promoting journey “ and was previously vice president of digital innovation — said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s website on February 17, 2021, that there is a greater sense of urgency around creating opportunity in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. Continue reading “Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs”
The 2020 election is over, but the need for election reform continues, the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Andrew Hitt, said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Feb. 9, 2021.
So expect legislative action on that front and, given the likelihood of vetoes by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, new lawsuits and efforts to get the Wisconsin Election Commission to take more action regarding election rules, Hitt said.
What started as an informal lunch conversation has developed into a scholarly law journal article raising an important question: Is the coverage of the United State Supreme Court by the news media contributing to the public perception of the Court as an institution doing politicized work in an atmosphere emphasizing factions? Or, as the title of the article puts it, “Supreme Court Journalism: From Law to Spectacle?”
In an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Feb. 3, 2021, Christina Tilley, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, said the paper in the Washington & Lee Law Review does not answer the broad question. But it examines aspects of the matter.
Tilley told Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, that she and her co-author, Barry Sullivan, a professor at Loyola University Chicago Law School, were talking one day several years ago, when Tilley was a faculty member at Loyola, about how headlines on Supreme Court stories seemed to be getting more “click-baity,” a term for language that attracts attention. Stories about the Court seemed to be emphasizing which president appointed justices and which faction of the court justices belonged to rather than issues and legal reasoning, they thought. Continue reading “Does News Media Coverage of the Supreme Court Emphasize Politics Too Much?”
Yes, the justice system in Milwaukee County is likely to come out of the pandemic operating better than it was before.
Yes, a lot of lessons have been learned, and some of them will have lasting impact.
But no, operating remotely and under the constraints imposed by COVID-19 precautions is not such a great thing, overall, and a return to in-person work as the predominant way the system operates is needed.
Mike Hostad and Ian Abston want to light up Milwaukee and its future.
One way that is so is literal. The two led the Light the Hoan project that, after five years of tenacious effort, brought multi-colored, frequently-changing lighting patterns to the Hoan Bridge at the mouth of Milwaukee’s harbor. The effort was sometimes criticized, but, once the lights went up in 2020, the project was a big hit.
Another way that is so is less literal: The two are leading a new effort called Forward 48 that recruits groups of 48 professionals between ages 25 and 35 and provides them training led by major community figures in what it takes to be leaders.
On Saturday, December 19, former Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, died after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 87. Just two ways she was like another famous, short, tough, trailblazing Jewish jurist: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Abrahamson, the daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants who arrived in the United States in the early 1930s, grew up in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude from NYU with her bachelor’s degree in 1953. Three years later, she graduated first in her class from Indiana Law School; she was also the only woman.
She met her husband Seymour in Indiana; they moved to Madison in the early 1960s, where Abrahamson earned her S.J.D. from UW Law in 1962. Thereafter, she became the first female lawyer at the Madison law firm La Follette, Sinykin, Doyle & Anderson. She was named a partner within a year. All throughout the time she was in practice, she also taught at UW Law.
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”
“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”
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.