Risky Precedents: A Brief Overview of the 2018 Wisconsin Lame Duck Laws & the Separation of Powers Doctrine

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System, Wisconsin Supreme Court1 Comment on Risky Precedents: A Brief Overview of the 2018 Wisconsin Lame Duck Laws & the Separation of Powers Doctrine

The Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, Wis.On December 14, 2018, outgoing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law three bills that were rapidly passed by the Republican-held state legislature during an extraordinary session following the November 7, 2018 election that resulted in Democrats winning each statewide elected seat. Along with serving various other goals of the Republican legislative majority, the trio of so-called “lame duck” laws were designed to curb the powers of incoming Governor Tony Evers’ administration before he took office in the following ways:

  • Transfer control over leadership appointments to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (“WEDC”) from the executive branch to the legislature until September 2019. Then-candidate Evers campaigned on disbanding the WEDC.
  • Grant the legislature power to intervene in lawsuits in circumvention of the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office when state statutes are challenged. This provision of the law provides for the use of taxpayer dollars to pay private lawyers to defend the interests of the Republican legislative majority.
  • Give the legislature the ability to sign off on and decide how to spend court settlements – a power traditionally held by the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Provide the legislature the power to permanently block any regulations written by the state’s numerous administrative agencies, which are part of the executive branch.
  • Require the executive branch to get permission from the legislature to make any policy changes within the state’s health care and public benefit programs.

Since December 14, 2018, several lawsuits have been filed raising various legal challenges to the measures imposed by the lame duck legislation. One of the primary legal challenges to the lame duck legislation is constitutional in nature – i.e., that much of the new legislation’s limiting effects on the executive branch violate the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Wisconsin Constitution. Continue reading “Risky Precedents: A Brief Overview of the 2018 Wisconsin Lame Duck Laws & the Separation of Powers Doctrine”

Congratulations to Marquette’s Sports Law Moot Court Team

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The Marquette Sports Law Moot Court team advanced to the Octofinals of the 2019 Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational Competition hosted by Tulane University Law School. Please congratulate team members Killian Commers, Hannah Compton, and Alexander Hensley. Professors Matt Mitten and Paul Anderson coached the team.  Kara Coppage and Tyler Coppage, who are former MU Mardi Gras Competition team members, coached and traveled with the team.  Tyler is pictured with the team.

Full(er) Disclosure: Wisconsin Invigorates the Brady Rule

Posted on Categories Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Process, Public, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process, Wisconsin Supreme Court1 Comment on Full(er) Disclosure: Wisconsin Invigorates the Brady Rule

Rugby player hiding ball under his shirtA Warren Court cornerstone has been “remastered and upgraded,” as they say, by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a case that has riled the waters nationally. In Brady v. Maryland (1963), the Warren Court held that prosecutors must disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense. No hiding the ball. Over fifty years of case law, however, has occluded the rule with sundry conditions and qualifications that obscure its modest disclosure provision. More time is spent describing the ball than looking for it.

In State v. Wayerski (2019 WI 11), the Wisconsin Supreme Court scraped off Brady’s barnacles, overruled fifty years of precedent, and held that prosecutors must provide the defense with any information that is exculpatory or impeaching  — even if the defense could have found it as easily as the prosecutor. Continue reading “Full(er) Disclosure: Wisconsin Invigorates the Brady Rule”

3L Shannon Strombom Wins State Bar Outstanding Public Interest Law Student of Year Award

Posted on Categories Immigration Law, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Poverty & Law, Public1 Comment on 3L Shannon Strombom Wins State Bar Outstanding Public Interest Law Student of Year Award

head shot of Shannon StrombomShannon Strombom (3L) has been chosen as the winner of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Outstanding Public Interest Law Student of the Year.

The criteria used to determine a winner of this award includes a demonstrated commitment to working in the public interest, public interest involvement before and during law school, exceptional volunteer work or activism in the community, and a commitment to helping others.

Strombom came to law school with a mission to help others, and she wasted no time getting involved. She started doing pro bono work in her first weeks as a 1L and has performed nearly 250 pro bono hours in seven different pro bono projects including the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics, Milwaukee Justice Center, Eviction Defense Project, Guardianship Clinic, Domestic Violence Project, U-Visa Project, and Youth Law Day. In other words, if a pro bono project is offered to students, Strombom signs up to do it.

Strombom is also the two-time recipient of a Public Interest Law Society fellowship. She has focused her fellowship work on immigration law, working one summer with Catholic Charities Legal Services for Immigrants and the next summer in the Arlington, Virginia, Immigration Court.

As for her plans after graduation, Strombom plans to build upon past experience and practice immigration law in a government, non-profit or small firm setting. Strombom particularly hopes to focus on family-based immigration law or humanitarian immigration law, such as asylum.

Strombom is an inspiration to us all. We are proud she will soon be a Marquette Lawyer.

Timbs v. Indiana: SCOTUS Hits the Brakes on Major Source of Revenue for States & Municipalities

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Process, Public, U.S. Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Timbs v. Indiana: SCOTUS Hits the Brakes on Major Source of Revenue for States & Municipalities

Police Vehicle from Manchester, New HampshireStates and municipalities have increasingly relied on fines and forfeitures as a means to raise revenue, and the ability of law enforcement to impose fines and forfeitures for various criminal and civil offenses has largely gone unchecked by the federal government until recently. The United States Supreme Court’s February 20, 2019 decision in Timbs v. Indiana significantly limits the once broad leeway states and municipalities have enjoyed in imposing fines and forfeitures. Under Timbs, law enforcement must now be additionally cautious not to impose fines and forfeitures that are far out of proportion to the gravity of the offense committed. Continue readingTimbs v. Indiana: SCOTUS Hits the Brakes on Major Source of Revenue for States & Municipalities”

NAAC Teams Win Third and Fourth Best Briefs, Advance to Regional Semifinal Rounds at Boston Regional

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on NAAC Teams Win Third and Fourth Best Briefs, Advance to Regional Semifinal Rounds at Boston Regional
one woman and two men, all law students, stand before a courtroom door
Lizzy King, Jad Itani, and Travis Yang
three women, all law students, stand in front of a courtroom door
Anna Meulbroek, Zeinat Hindi, and Libby Grabow

Thirty teams from across the country arrived in Boston at the Boston Municipal Court Department on February 28, all prepared to present oral arguments in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) regional. Two Marquette Law teams were among those and both made an impact.

Jad Itani, Elizabeth (Lizzy) King, and Travis Yang were seeded 13th after three rounds of argument. They advanced to the fourth (regional semifinal) round but faced a tough bench while arguing respondent’s side, a tough argument in the context of the Eighth Amendment issues presented. They lost that fourth round. King had a strong performance at oral argument in the second round, despite battling some unfortunate shellfish poisoning; Itani had to sub in for her in the third and fourth rounds, despite not having argued that side at all. Their team’s brief was named third best in the region.

Elizabeth (Libby) Grabow, Zeinat Hindi, and Anna Meulbroek were seeded 3rd after three rounds, but they, too, faced a tough bench in the fourth round. Unfortunately, they lost that round, but delivered consistently high-quality oral arguments in every round. After the third round, the judges commended them for their winning performance and encouraged each of them to continue with litigation work. Their team’s brief was named fourth best in the region.

This year was the first in memory where both teams advanced to the regional semifinal round and both teams received brief awards. Marquette has much to be proud of.

Both teams were assisted by practitioner coaches Elleny Christopolous, Kate Maternowski, and Zachary Willenbrink (L’11). Thank you, too, to practice judges Professors Ed Fallone and Elana Olson; Judge J.P. Stadtmueller (L’67), law clerk Nathan Bader and law clerk Joan Harms; City of Milwaukee attorneys James Carroll (L’08), Bill Davidson (L’17), Patricia Fricker, Katryna Rhodes; Meredith Donaldson (L’18); and former NAAC competitors Lucas Bennewitz (L’15), Ali Klimko (L’17), Andrew Lawton (L’18), and Adam Woodside (L’18).

Congratulations to team members for their outstanding representation of Marquette Law.

 

 

 

Our March Guest Blogger is Here!

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Marquette Law School, Public, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Our March Guest Blogger is Here!

Attorney Brandon Jubelirer from the waist up stands in front of a sunlit window with his hands in his pocketsPlease join me in welcoming our Guest Blogger for the month of March.

Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Attorney Brandon Jubelirer.  He is currently an associate at Hawks Quindel. His law practice primarily consists of litigating a wide variety of worker’s compensation matters on behalf of injured and wrongfully terminated workers. Before joining Hawks Quindel as an associate, Attorney Jubelirer served as a law clerk with the firm for over a year and a half. Throughout his legal education, Attorney Jubelirer also interned for a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, served on the board of directors for the Marquette Labor & Employment Law Society, and performed pro-bono service for the Sojourner Family Peace Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic in connection with Marquette University Law School. Attorney Jubelirer graduated cum laude from Marquette University Law School. Prior to entering law school, Attorney Jubelirer earned his B.A., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a double major in political science and history. He also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Honors College program.

We look forward to your posts.

Advice from Justice Clarence Thomas

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Last spring in Washington, D.C. at the Federalist Society’s National Student Symposium, Justice Thomas told a room full of law students to “get rid of [their] pessimism.” Justice Thomas, your words have been ringing in my ears. Admittedly, many aspects of America’s contemporary legal and political landscape engender a lingering pessimism in me. I’d like to step back a moment from this divisive arena we encounter every day and briefly discuss a few points of optimism. Continue reading “Advice from Justice Clarence Thomas”

Gratitude for Intellectual Diversity

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Student Contributor, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Gratitude for Intellectual Diversity

Red and blue Rock'em-Sock'em Robots facing offI believe intellectual diversity is vital to the development of the legal community—in law school and in practice. I also believe our individual mindsets—as lawyers, professors, or law students—aggregate and have an outsized effect on the direction of Wisconsin’s and America’s laws. Finally, in the vein of free-market competition, I believe we should each endeavor to challenge our mindsets and step out of any conscious or unconscious echo chambers of legal thought. With these ideas in mind, let’s spice things up with a rather normative post.

Let’s start with a somewhat lighthearted contention. Math is not evil, mysterious, or to be avoided at all costs. On the contrary, we should challenge ourselves to use it appropriately and effectively when an opportunity arises to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good “lawyers are bad at math” joke, but maybe we shouldn’t perpetuate that mindset. If you can use a standard normal distribution or some Bureau of Labor Statistics data to make a point, go for it. Words may be our specialty, but numbers should be in the tool bag as well.

That was a good warm up, so let’s try something a little more controversial. Continue reading “Gratitude for Intellectual Diversity”

Soledad O’Brien and the Girl with a Broken Front Tooth

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Soledad O’Brien remembers a girl in her high school on Long Island, New York, who broke a front tooth and went for many months without getting it fixed.

O’Brien grew up in a stable, comfortable home and never had to worry about shelter, food, medical care, or other valuable parts of stable living. And she never gave much thought to why the girl didn’t get her tooth fixed.

But the girl and her front tooth are still on her mind decades later. That girl makes her think about all the young women, then and now, who live unstable lives, who can’t meet daily needs that are met without much thought in other homes. “I was so naive and stupid about those things,” O’Brien said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Tuesday.

“What sixteen-year-old girl walks around (with a broken front tooth). Think about her family circumstances, and think about what this girl was going through that that was completely normal. I don’t think I ever thought about poverty, I don’t think I ever thought about access to health care, or all these things as a journalist I would really dig in to.” Continue reading “Soledad O’Brien and the Girl with a Broken Front Tooth”

Congratulations to the 2019 Jessup Moot Court Team

Posted on Categories Environmental Law, International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Public, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Congratulations to the 2019 Jessup Moot Court Team
Image of the head of a yak, with multi-colored horns, advertising the Jessup Moot Court Competition.
Official Logo of the 2019 Jessup Moot Court Competition

Congratulations to Jade Hall, Simone Haugen, Anne O’Meara, and Aleysha Thomas for their strong effort in the 2019 Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Midwest Regionals in Chicago.  In its 60th year, the Jessup Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 680 law schools in 100 countries.  This year’s Jessup problem involved the appropriation of traditional knowledge for commercial purposes, state responsibility for corporate environmental degradation and human rights violations, and protection of migratory species.

Attorneys and Marquette Law alumni Rene Jovel (Jessup 2014), Margaret Krei (Jessup 2013), and Alyssa Gemein (Jessup 2017), as well as Professors Ryan Scoville and Megan A. O’Brien served as team advisors.  Special thanks to Juan Amado (Jessup 2011 and former team advisor), Jared Widseth (Jessup 2014), Nathan Oesch (Jessup 2018), Courtney Roelandts (Jessup 2018), Matt Tobin (Jessup 2014), and Professor Andrea Schneider for judging oral practice rounds.

Do primary voters strategically vote in the opposition’s primary?

Posted on Categories Lubar Center, Marquette Law School Poll, PublicLeave a comment» on Do primary voters strategically vote in the opposition’s primary?

Periodically political enthusiasts express concern that members of a particular political party will conspire to swing the result of the opposing party’s primary election by strategically voting for a candidate who does not express the actual will of that party’s “real” voters. This form of bad-faith strategic voting is sometimes called party raiding.

Party raiding is only feasible in states with open primaries, and fear of it is sometimes used as a argument in favor closed primary systems, which only allow registered partisans to vote in their respective primaries.

Wisconsin is an open primary state. In fact, the state’s Election Commission maintains no records of party affiliation whatsoever. Every party’s primary contests share space on a single ballot. Voters choose their preferred party in the privacy of the voting booth. No state presents fewer barriers to strategic party raiding than Wisconsin.

Nonetheless, there is no evidence that this kind of voting behavior occurs at all in Wisconsin. As I mentioned, registered voters do not have the option to formally affiliate with a party in Wisconsin. We can, however, measure party identification through public opinion data.

I pooled the results of three Marquette Law School Polls preceding the 2016 presidential preference vote and three surveys preceding the 2018 partisan primary. The combined dataset includes 3,515 likely voters. Each respondent was asked if they planned to vote in either the Republican primary, the Democratic primary, or if they didn’t plan to vote at all. We also recorded answers from respondents who insisted they would vote in “both” primaries, even though this would result in a spoiled ballot if carried out.

Respondents were also asked if they “usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent.” Those who answered “independent” were then asked, “Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or to the Democratic Party?” We consider those who answered affirmatively as “leaning” partisans.

Here is how each partisan group planned to vote in the upcoming primary.

Stated intentions of Wisconsin primary voters by party ID, data from 2016 and 2018
partyID Republican primary Democratic primary Won’t vote Both Don’t know Refused
Rep 89 2 5 1 3 0
Lean Rep 77 4 9 1 7 1
Ind 25 16 17 3 36 4
Lean Dem 7 75 8 1 9 1
Dem 2 89 5 1 3 0

An identical share (2%) of Republicans and Democrats planned to vote in the other party’s primary. Even if this tiny share of people were indeed “party raiding,” they cancelled each other out. But there is no good evidence suggesting they weren’t voting in good faith. In the following general elections the share of self-identified Democrats or Republicans voting for a nominee of the other party exceeded 2%, so it’s quite likely that some share of self-identified Democratic voters genuinely preferred one of the Republican primary candidates and vice versa.