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”

Welcome to Our January Guest Blogger!

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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!

Welcome to Our December Guest Blogger!

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Our Student Contributor for December is 3L Matt Rademacher. Matt is originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Before entering law school, he was an Army Engineer; he deployed to Afghanistan in 2010-11 to perform route clearance, and finished his Army career as a Captain. In law school he has developed an interest in municipal law, and outside of the legal realm he enjoys reading about military history, and has been an historical reenactor since roughly age 8. Welcome Matt!

Risk and Liability for November Music Festival Disaster in Houston

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Man standing at a concertNo, this picture is not a still from an episode of “Black Mirror;” it is a photograph from the Jacques Berman Webster II (also known as Travis Scott) concert on November 5, 2021, in Houston. The fans (including the man standing on the ambulance) are unaware that their exuberant pushing and shoving are creating a crowd crush. In other words, the venue has become so densely populated that the crowd begins to function like a liquid. Therefore, pushing from the back has a ripple effect that causes fans near the front (1) to experience compressional asphyxia due to the pressure on the lungs or (2) to fall and be trampled.

Unfortunately, this tragedy resulted in the death of eight people and physically injury to over 300. The number of victims may continue to grow as people are treated for the mental trauma they experienced.

This is certainly not the first time these “crowd crush” events have occurred, and this is not the first time that Mr. Webster has been involved in fueling these sorts of situations. Mr. Webster was arrested for disorderly conduct in 2015 at Lollapalooza in Chicago and again in 2017 at a concert in Arkansas. At both performances, Mr. Webster created hysteria by getting the crowd to “rage,” which resulted in injury and chaos. What is alarming is that Mr. Webster did not immediately stop the show in Houston (the victims can be heard on audio screaming for help). Furthermore, the venue seemed woefully unprepared to handle the event, despite Mr. Webster’s well-known reputation, the promotor’s history of these risks, and the advancements in crowd control. Additionally, the Houston police chief allegedly visited the performer ahead of his show to “convey[] concerns about the energy in the crowd.”

It is no surprise that over 14 civil lawsuits have already been filed against the promoter, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., 10 of which also named Mr. Webster. The lawsuits allege “that Live Nation acted negligently by failing to create and enforce proper safety protocols, failing to provide adequate security and failing to maintain proper crowd control.”

Live Nation will most likely point to their 56-page operation plan submitted to Harris County ahead of the festival as one possible defense. That plan covered security and medical response protocols, including “the potential for multiple alcohol/drug-related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation.” However, despite the plan’s existence, it is clear that either it was not sufficient for this situation or the Live Nation staff did not appropriately follow it.

The event is still under police investigation, so we will not have all of the information until later. Until then, I hope that other promotors and performers learn from this and take better care of their consumers.

Do you think either the promotor or Mr. Webster could be held criminally responsible for this event?

 

Welcome to Our November Guest Blogger!

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Our Student Contributor for November is 3L Nicholas Bergosh. Nicholas is from Pensacola, Florida, but was born in San Diego, California, and spent a significant part of his life there. He is interested in business law, but also wants to continue working with a sports agency. He is a sailor in the United States Naval Reserves and plans to reenlist after his contract ends in 2023. Welcome Nicholas!

Legal Challenges to Race-Based Scholarships in Wisconsin

Posted on Categories Constitutional Law, Higher Education, Race & Law, Student Contributor2 Comments on Legal Challenges to Race-Based Scholarships in Wisconsin

Since the early 2000s, the validity of the use of race in many scholarship applications has been questioned. States have been left rolling in a deep pool of uncertainty regarding what to do. Race-based scholarship programs have provided invaluable aid to minority students seeking to obtain a higher education. Without these programs, many qualified minority students would be unable to attend higher-learning institutions. As a result, the institution would be denied a diverse learning community and many valuable students would have to prematurely abandon their education goals.

Each scholarship serves its own purpose. There are scholarships that are offered to people of certain religious background. Others focus on providing economic aid to students who are pursuing certain degrees – such as engineering, medicine, or law. The purpose of race-based grants or scholarships is to increase the number of diverse students for the benefit of each institution. This purpose has been challenged by complaints alleging that race-based scholarships only further race discrimination.

The Supreme Court has established precedent regarding this debate. The Court held that when applying rights found in the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment regarding this matter, a society is a collection of “knowing individuals” who are seen as autonomous and independent, and thus should be treated as individuals without regard to race. The Court further stated that when a program acknowledges individuals as being part of a group or classification, the program should be strictly scrutinized. Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003); Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003).

As one commentator has noted, “[t]o pass strict scrutiny review, a race-conscious program must first have a compelling state interest. Diversity is the compelling interest most often used to defend affirmative action.” Andrija Samardzich, Note, Protecting Race-Exclusive Scholarships from Extinction with an Alternative Compelling State Interest, 81 Ind. L.J. 1121, 1124 (2006). In Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Justice O’Connor stated:

The Law School’s interest is not simply ‘to assure within its student body some specified percentage of a particular group merely because of its race or ethnic origin.’ That would amount to outright racial balancing, which is patently unconstitutional. Rather, the Law School’s concept of critical mass is defined by reference to the educational benefits that diversity is designed to produce.

Grutter, 539 U.S. at 330.

In recent months, this debate has hit close to home. Continue reading “Legal Challenges to Race-Based Scholarships in Wisconsin”

Welcome to Our October Guest Blogger!

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After a bit of a hiatus, our guest bloggers are returning! This month we are excited to welcome 3L Vanessa Flores to blog with us as our Student Contributor. Vanessa is originally from Ecuador but called Chicago home before coming to Marquette. She is interested in civil litigation and will be doing that after graduation. When not studying law, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her cats, Simba and Bolt, and exploring Wisconsin with her boyfriend and his dogs. Welcome Vanessa!

Marquette’s presence at the Global Water Center helps Milwaukee lead in Water Innovation

Posted on Categories Environmental Law, Marquette Law School, Public, Student Contributor, Water LawLeave a comment» on Marquette’s presence at the Global Water Center helps Milwaukee lead in Water Innovation

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.Groundwater depletion in the U.S.

From Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900-2008), USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5079.

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.

Continue reading “Marquette’s presence at the Global Water Center helps Milwaukee lead in Water Innovation”

Sanity Maintenance: A Guide to Surviving October

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Sanity Maintenance: A Guide to Surviving October

“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 An image of fall in Door County, Wisconsinout, 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Continue reading “Sanity Maintenance: A Guide to Surviving October”

Students Remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, Marquette Law School, Public, Student Contributor, U.S. Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Students Remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Upon the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Student Bar Association collected some statements from students in order to honor her memory.

black and white picture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg sitting on a sofa in 1972
Justice Ginsburg in 1972, when she was Professor Ginsburg, a professor at Columbia Law School. Photo credit: Librado Romero-The New York TImes.

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”

Welcome to Our October Guest Blogger

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head shot of woman named Liz SimonisOur Student Guest Blogger for October is 2L Liz Simonis. Originally from Milwaukee, Liz spent five years working in agriculture around the Midwest before moving back to the Cream City. Her legal interests are primarily in intellectual property and corporate law, but after spending six months in China, she has developed an interest in water law as well, including its ability to influence international relations. Liz has recently been awarded the AWL Foundation Scholarship by the Association for Women Lawyers. Congratulations Liz!

How to Have Restrictive Contracts and Still Be “The Good Guys”

Posted on Categories Intellectual Property Law, Legal Practice, Negotiation, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on How to Have Restrictive Contracts and Still Be “The Good Guys”

Cover of Adventure Zone graphic novelJustin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy have built a podcast empire on being wholesome good guys. They come off to their fans as three brothers who are down-to-Earth, goofy, and will never do anything to hurt people. This has connected with podcast listeners worldwide, helping them build a massive fan base.

But at some point, businesspeople and celebrities make mistakes. For the McElroys, this mistake has come in the form of them trying to find ways to make money off the success of their podcasts. Prior to 2018, the McElroys had sold merch for their podcasts, gone on tours to do live recordings of podcasts, and had a brief TV adaptation of the podcast “My Brother, My Brother and Me” on the failed streaming platform Seeso, which was owned by NBCUniversal.

Then came the graphic novel adaptation of “The Adventure Zone,” which shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller’s list. The graphic novel, while illustrated by Casey Pietsch, features a gallery of fan art at the back of every volume. Given the relationship the McElroys have with their fans, it seems reasonable they would pay tribute to the fans and the artwork they create by including a gallery of artwork tied to the events of that volume.

This fan art gallery has become the center of a bit of controversy in recent weeks. Continue reading “How to Have Restrictive Contracts and Still Be “The Good Guys””