Yesterday, a packed room of more than one hundred people at the Law School was treated to the latest installment of On the Issues with Mike Gousha, featuring Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke. Gousha began the program by asking Priebus and Wineke about what role Wisconsin will play in the outcome of this year’s presidential election. Both party chairmen confirmed that Wisconsin is considered “in play” for the presidential election, with recent polling showing Barack Obama with a narrow 2-3 point lead over John McCain in the state. When asked what factor(s) will determine the election, Priebus suggested that the issue of trust — that is, which candidate voters trust most — will be dispositive. Wineke countered that the election would turn on the economy. Both also agreed that get out the vote (GOTV) volunteer efforts will be critical to success, in the state and nationally. Continue reading “A Civil Conversation With the Party Bosses”
Continuing our faculty workshop series, Nadelle Grossman presented a work in progress earlier this week entitled “Clarifying the Long-Term Nature of Director and Shareholder Fiduciary Duties.” Her presentation examined the various factors that have magnified the influence of short-term institutional shareholders, such as hedge funds and activist investors, over the decisions of corporate management. These factors include the way the market punishes firms that fail to meet their quarterly earnings targets, the incentives of money managers to maximize their own fees by boosting the share price of their holdings, and the increasing effectiveness of the shareholder franchise. Professor Grossman argued that the increasing influence of the “short-termers” has impaired management’s ability to set a long-term strategy for the corporation. Her thesis is that the fiduciary duties of directors and institutional shareholders should be re-examined in order to promote the adoption of business strategies with longer time frames. Continue reading “Addressing the Short-Termer Problem in Corporate Governance”
This afternoon in Eisenberg Hall, three distinguished scholars kicked off the first installment of the Centennial Symposia celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marquette University’s acquisition of the Milwaukee Law School and the Milwaukee University Law School. (A podcast is here.) This session, entitled “The Origins of Marquette University Law School,” featured Joseph A. Ranney, a legal historian, shareholder in DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C., and adjunct professor at the Law School; Professor J. Gordon Hylton of the Law School (who is organizing the symposia); and Dr. Thomas J. Jablonsky, the Harry G. John Professor of Urban Studies at Marquette.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker laid out their visions for the future of mass transportation in Milwaukee at today’s On the Issues with Mike Gousha program at the Law School. (A podcast is here.) The transportation issue invites vision statements in part because $91.5 million in federal funds are set aside for mass transit in Milwaukee and in part because Milwaukee’s once prized transit system is badly broken. Without an agreement between Barrett and Walker, the federal funds are unlikely to be released. But an agreement between those leaders will be hard to come by: the mayor looks to cities that are growing and thriving and sees rail service as a key component of the local transportation strategy; the county exec looks at Milwaukee’s deteriorating bus system and wants those federal funds to shore up and improve county bus transportation.
Where Barrett sees local rail service as a critical economic development tool that can invigorate the region, Walker sees inflexible routes and minimal practical benefit. Where Walker sees improved bus service as a reliable system for moving workers and students, Barrett sees a county bus system that is in a “death spiral” which cannot be fixed just with more buses. Continue reading “Mayor Barrett and County Exec Walker on the Future of Mass Transit in Milwaukee”
Marquette’s faculty workshop series continued today with a terrific presentation by Joanne Gabrynowicz of the University of Mississippi School of Law. Joanne, who directs the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law, brought us up to speed on the major legal challenges facing space tourism (“informed consent is the issue”) and other persistent difficulties relating to the commercial use of space (e.g., allocation of rights and responsibilities between public and private sectors). Joanne’s blog looks like a great resource for anyone interested in following these issues.
Kicking off a terrific speaker series at Marquette this semester, Dan Markel of Florida State and PrawfsBlawg fame is with us today to present his paper How Should Punitive Damages Work?. This is the second part of a multi-article series in which Dan is developing a comprehensive reform proposal for punitive damages law. Dan’s basic premise is that punitive damages should be reconceptualized around principles of retributive justice. To the extent that we want punitive damages to do other things (e.g., compensate victims for dignitary harms), Dan urges that we give those forms of damages different labels and treat them in a procedurally distinct manner from retributive damages. Notably, he would give retributive damages awards to the state, not private plaintiffs; plaintiffs would get merely a small finder’s fee ($10,000) and attorneys’ fees. Continue reading “Retributive Damages in a World Without Trials”