National Proofreading Day

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It’s the week before Spring Break at the Law School, which can mean only one thing: 1L briefs are due.

It’s timely, then, that today is National Proofreading Day. (It’s also International Women’s Day.) International Proofreading Day “highlights the importance of proofreading our own work.”

That’s easy enough to say, but less easy to do. Or at least, less easy to do well. Among the tips to effectively proofread are:

  • Let it “bake.” I’m not sure where I first heard this phrase, but it refers to setting aside your writing before beginning to proofread it. I always suggest setting aside a brief or memo for a day or so, but I understand that amount of time is not always available. Any amount of time away, though, allows you to return to your draft with fresh eyes.
  • Proof in hard copy. Hard copy edits are a must. You will see things about writing in hard copy that you will easily miss if you proofread only on screen.

    list of proofreaders' marks from the Chicago Manual of Style
    List of proofreaders’ marks, from the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Learn proofreader marks. If you’re going to proof in hard copy, it’s worth it to learn the marks that editors use. Knowing these marks will speed up your proofreading and—if you’re on the receiving end of a proofread document—make sense when you go to make the changes.
  • Monotask. That is, remove distractions—like your phone, email alerts, an open browser. It’s easier to focus when the distractions are set aside.
  • Know your tendencies. Maybe you have trouble with correctly placing apostrophes or passive voice creeps into your sentences. Make a list of the writing habits you know you need to watch for in your own writing, then consult that list as you proofread.
  • Shun autocorrect. Autocorrect does not catch every error; in fact, it always skips over correctly spelled words that are incorrect in context. Just ask my 1Ls, who must watch out for singers who are waving rights, rather than signers who are waiving rights.
  • Read aloud. Or backward. Or out of order. Approaching your document differently allows you to see (or hear) what’s really there, rather than what you know you’re written.

Continue reading “National Proofreading Day”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Dixon, Jozwiak, and Knackert

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Dixon, Jozwiak, and Knackert

This past fall, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored three Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Sebrina Dixon, 3L, received the AWL Foundation scholarship. The AWL Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a woman who has exhibited service to others, diversity, compelling financial need, academic achievement, unique life experiences (such as overcoming obstacles to attend or continue law school), and advancement of women in the profession.

head shot of Sebrina Dixon
Sebrina Dixon, 3L

Dixon is an Iowa native and a graduate of Iowa State University. Although she double majored in psychology and criminal justice, she found tax law in law school and settled into her niche. She is the co-founder and co-president of the new Tax Law Association. Dixon is a member of the student chapter of AWL and the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and is a staff editor of the Marquette Benefits and Social Welfare Law Journal.

Samantha Jozwiak, 2L, received the Shirley S. Abrahamson Scholarship. Recipients of the Shirley S. Abrahamson Scholarship must have “demonstrated perseverance in the face of adversity” and show commitment to issues affecting women or children in the community and to public service. The late Shirley S. Abrahamson served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for 43 years. She was the state’s first female supreme court justice and, later, its first female chief justice. Continue reading “Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Dixon, Jozwiak, and Knackert”

NMCC Moot Court Team Goes to Nationals

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal Profession, Legal Writing, Public1 Comment on NMCC Moot Court Team Goes to Nationals

Please congratulate third-year law students Lauren Brasington and Carsyn Bushman for their success at the final rounds of the National Moot Court Competition (NMCC), co-hosted by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the New York City Bar Association and held virtually this year. The team was capably coached by Attorneys Kieran O’Day and Evan Thomsen.

Continue reading “NMCC Moot Court Team Goes to Nationals”

Republicans Could Get Last Word on Redistricting—as Democrats Did in 1983  

Posted on Categories Election Law, Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on Republicans Could Get Last Word on Redistricting—as Democrats Did in 1983  

You may have heard that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will be deciding legislative district lines that will stand for the next decade.

It might happen that way. But if Republicans win back the governor’s office and retain control of both houses of the Legislature this fall, they could redraw the map next year to favor their party even more than any of the GOP-leaning options the high court might choose.

That’s what Democrats did when they were in the same position 40 years earlier, although the 1983 Democratic effort differs significantly from the Republican-engineered 2011 redistricting plan that Democrats have denounced as an extreme partisan gerrymander.

A Supreme Court opinion in the current case will leave the door open for Republicans to redraw the map if they are in charge of both the legislative and executive branches. Continue reading “Republicans Could Get Last Word on Redistricting—as Democrats Did in 1983  “

Neighborhoods where Milwaukee isn’t segregated

Posted on Categories Lubar Center, Milwaukee Area Project, Public5 Comments on Neighborhoods where Milwaukee isn’t segregated

The following statistics were calculated by aggregating 2020 census blocks into Milwaukee neighborhoods. Because of data quality concerns stemming from the Census Bureau’s new differential privacy techniques, I do not present data for neighborhoods with fewer than 400 residents.

The 2020 Census reconfirmed Milwaukee’s status as one of the most segregated cities and metropolitan areas in the United States.

According to Brown University’s Diversity and Disparities Project, metro-wide Black-white segregation declined slightly, but the Milwaukee metro still ranks 2nd-most segregated, just as in 2010. Within city limits, the absolute degree of Black-white segregation measured by Brown University remained unchanged, and segregation between other groups declined only modestly.

These dismal statistics point to how far Milwaukee remains from being a fair place to live for most of its residents. Still, there are neighborhoods in Milwaukee that saw significant positive change over the last decade. Their populations grew more representative of the city as a whole.

One way to measure this is a “diversity index,” which shows the likelihood that two people randomly chosen from the same neighborhood would identify with different races. Continue reading “Neighborhoods where Milwaukee isn’t segregated”

Marquette Law School poll looks at Justice Breyer and nominations to the Supreme Court

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It has been a busy week for the Marquette Law School Poll. On Wednesday the latest national Supreme Court Survey was released (before dawn), news came a few hours later of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement, on Thursday the national issues segment of the poll was released (before dawn) and finally a lengthy review of public opinion of Breyer and of the nomination process for the Court was released (after dawn) with a look over Law School polling about the Court since 2019.

Here are links to these releases for all the details.

Many of Wisconsin’s rural towns are more walkable than suburbs

Posted on Categories Lubar Center, Public3 Comments on Many of Wisconsin’s rural towns are more walkable than suburbs
downtown platteville
Downtown Platteville, source: Platteville.org

Walk Score is a company which generates eponymous scores for towns and addresses based on how many staples of everyday life you can walk to. A score of 0 means nothing is in walking distance. An entirely walkable community scores 100. New York City scores 88, Los Angeles 69, Houston 47, Scottsdale 32.

I grew up in Bardolph, Illinois with a walk score of 7. We lived within walking distance of three places where I could legally spend money–the post office and two pop machines. Bardolph wasn’t always this way. My great-aunts could recall catching the train to the county seat. During my mom’s childhood, the village still had a grocery store, pool hall, schools, and two churches. The high school consolidated in 1973, and the grade school merged with Adair in 1979. The Presbyterian church closed in the early 1990s, while the Methodist church lingered just a few years longer. Last time I visited, the pop machines were gone, and the post office was only staffed 2 hours a day.

Bardolph is a little closer to oblivion than some of its neighbors. But all of McDonough County’s small towns–Adair (walk score: 7), Good Hope (10), Industry (8), Prairie City (17)–are well along that same trajectory.

These low walk scores aren’t a consequence of car-centric design. You could walk to the furthest corners of each in 15 minutes, possibly even on a sidewalk. There is just almost nowhere left to walk to.

This being my experience of rural life, I was surprised to encounter many healthy small towns in Wisconsin, some of which are even thriving. Continue reading “Many of Wisconsin’s rural towns are more walkable than suburbs”

Now That’s What I Call Meta

Posted on Categories Computer Law, Cryptocurrency, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Now That’s What I Call Meta

In another post, this writer discussed Covid through a discussion of what is normal and mentioned, briefly, this concept of the metaverse. As we embrace things that are becoming normal, many legal professionals have conducted a large amount of business virtually utilizing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Many more may not even realize that these “normal platforms” are, at minimum, precursors to what companies plan for the metaverse.

You may have seen the news that Facebook, Inc., changed its name to Meta Platforms, Inc., in the fall of 2021. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, says the company did this to showcase its commitment to the development of a metaverse. But Meta Platforms isn’t the only player in the metaverse game, nor can it be. More recently, Microsoft purchased the video game holding company Activision Blizzard to continue its development of its idea of the metaverse. And Nvidia has been developing the Omniverse as its own metaverse. The list of companies participating in metaverse activities is numerous and varied. But what are these companies doing and why does it matter to the readers of a law school blog?

These companies are shaping Internet 3.0, what is popularly called the metaverse. Continue reading “Now That’s What I Call Meta”

What Is Normal?

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Here we are . . . .  It’s January 22, 2022. It’s windy outside. Cold, yet blindingly bright. What snow we had in Milwaukee County has mostly melted, yet winter isn’t even a month old at this writing. Classes resume for the “spring” semester on Monday, the 24th of January 2022, having been delayed for a week so Marquette University can address the burgeoning Omicron variant of the COVID virus. It is this writer’s second “spring” semester at Marquette University Law School and the second spent in the global COVID pandemic.

Back when acceptance letters were being delivered to the class of law students who will graduate in May 2023, scarcely a person on the planet predicted—or even truly considered—that two years hence, we would still be in the throes of a devastating pandemic. And yes, devastating is the correct word to use here, but it isn’t the only word that can be used. The pandemic, for some aspects of life, has been confusingly constructive and progressive. Despite this, many still ask, “When will things return to normal?”

Personally, this writer struggles to comprehend what is normal in most situations—a flaw, perhaps, that has existed since youth. But let’s put the question to the reader: What is normal? Continue reading “What Is Normal?”

Whose maps are least changed of all?   

Posted on Categories Election Law, Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on Whose maps are least changed of all?   

This blog post continues the focus of the Law School’s Lubar Center on redistricting

Change, like beauty, appears to be in the eye of the beholder.

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that new legislative and congressional district maps must change as little as legally possible from the current maps, observers saw it as a win for the Republicans and conservatives who sought that ruling. Democrats have condemned the maps drawn in 2011 as an extreme partisan gerrymander that has locked in GOP control of the Legislature for the past decade.

But while least-change maps are sure to be Republican-majority maps, they’re not necessarily going to be the same maps that the GOP-controlled Legislature approved last year, only to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. And the ruling hasn’t driven all the rival map-changers out of the courtroom.

Instead, Justice Rebecca Bradley’s majority opinion has prompted a legal debate over exactly what “least change” means—and a contest in which nearly all of the parties are competing to convince the court that their preferred maps would change less than those submitted by their opponents. Continue reading “Whose maps are least changed of all?   “

Texas Deputies and S.B. 8

Posted on Categories Civil Procedure, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Public, Student Contributor1 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”

No Exit

Posted on Categories Election Law, Political Processes & Rhetoric, PublicLeave a comment» on No Exit

Prof. Rick Hasen of UCLA, an expert in election law, had an op-ed in Friday’s New York Times that argued that in the wake of the 2020 election and its aftermath, including the January 6th attack on Congress, “[w]e must not succumb to despair on indifference. It won’t be easy, but there is a path forward if we begin acting now, together, to shore up our fragile election ecosystem.”

Unfortunately, I disagree. The fact that there is no path forward unless X, Y, and Z happen does not mean that X, Y, and Z will happen. It could well be that there is no path forward. And no path is likely to be available until a significant portion of the American public fundamentally change their present views about their society and their fellow citizens. Continue reading “No Exit”

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