Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors Advance to Semifinals

Congratulations to the students in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition who have moved on to the semifinal round of the competition. The students will be competing tomorrow, Sunday, April 7 at noon to determine which two teams will be advancing to the final round on Wednesday, April 10, at 6 PM.

The following teams will be competing in the semifinals:

Abby Nilsson and Mackenzie Retzlaff
Catherine Alles and Joseph Schimp
Josephine Napolski and Sydney Wilcox
John Bolton and Daniel Underwood

The final round of the Jenkins competition will take place on Wednesday, April 10, at 6 PM in the Lubar Center. We’re honored to welcome the following distinguished jurists who will judge the final round:

  • Hon. John K. Bush, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Hon. J.P. Stadtmueller (L’67), U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Hon. Maria Lazar, Wisconsin Court of Appeals

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. You can register with this on-line registration link.

Congratulations to all the participants in the competition. We also very much appreciate the alumni and other attorneys who volunteer to grade briefs and serve as judges in the preliminary rounds. We appreciate their time and assistance every year.

Continue ReadingJenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors Advance to Semifinals

Highlights from the 2024 Spring Election in Milwaukee County

Only a few of the major races on Milwaukee’s spring ballot were competitive. Most notably, the latest Milwaukee Public School District funding referendum passed by fewer than 2,000 votes. Both Biden and Trump put up relatively weak showings in their respective pro forma presidential preference votes. Evan Goyke handily won a landslide victory against the incumbent Milwaukee City Attorney.

The following discussion is based on complete, but unofficial, election night vote totals. All demographic data is from the 2020 census. Registered voter statistics are based on the number of registrants entering election day; they do not include same-day registrants.

MPS Referendum

MPS referendum ward results

The referendum received about 41,600 “yes” votes to 39,900 “no” votes. The No’s actually won more wards—172 to 164.

As the map below shows, support for the referendum was strongest in neighborhoods along the lake and on the near west side. Opposition was strongest on the far south and southwest sides. Most north and northwest side wards also voted against the referendum.

These patterns do somewhat follow Milwaukee’s racial divisions. The “Yes” vote won majority non-Hispanic white wards (53.2% for “Yes”) while narrowly losing both majority Black wards (48.4% “Yes”) and majority Latino wards (49.4% “Yes”).

But these differences are small. The presence of children in a ward correlates much more strongly with the referendum vote.

In wards where fewer than 20% of households include a child under 18, the “Yes” vote won by nearly two-thirds of the vote, 65.8%. But in places where more households have kids, it lost. In wards where 20% to 40% of households have a kid, 45.9% of voters supported the referendum. Where 40% to 60% of households have a kid, the “Yes” vote took 46.9%.

These are just correlations. We don’t have data on how parents themselves voted. But we can say that the MPS referendum was most popular in the parts of the city with the fewest children.

Presidential Preference

No candidate remained campaigning against Biden or Trump in their Wisconsin presidential primaries. Still, both candidates put up relatively weak showings.

Across the entire county, Trump received 73.2% from Republican primary voters. Nikki Haley’s defunct campaign still got 16.6%. In 2020 (with no other named candidates on the ballot), Trump won 97% support among Republican primary voters.

Biden received 84.5% of the vote, compared with 12.2% for uninstructed delegates, and 2.5% for Dean Phillips. The last primary featuring an incumbent Democratic president was 2012. In that year, Obama won 99.1% of the Milwaukee County vote, and uninstructed delegates received 0.7%.

maps showing the presidential preference results in milwaukee county

The table below shows the primary results in each municipality.

A slim majority of voters participated in the Republican primary in Hales Corners and Franklin. Democrats were in the majority everywhere else.

Among Republican primary voters, Trump generally did best in the southern suburbs, garnering 80% or better in West Milwaukee, Oak Creek, Cudahy, and Hales Corners. Haley did best in the wealthier north shore suburbs, receiving 30% or better among GOP voters in Shorewood, Fox Point, Whitefish Bay, and River Hills.

Activists opposing Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza campaigned in support of the “uninstructed delegation” option in the Democratic primary. “Uninstructed” support varied between municipalities with the most support coming in two usually quite different places. Shorewood is the most Democratic municipality in the entire county, and 15% of its Democratic primary participants supported the uninstructed campaign. But “Uninstructed” support was even higher, 16%, in Franklin, one of the county’s most conservative suburbs. In general, uninstructed support was higher in the southern suburbs and lower on the north shore.

Within the city of Milwaukee, the uninstructed campaign generally performed best in the Riverwest neighborhood, with pockets of significant support scattered elsewhere in the city.

table showing presidential preference results in milwaukee county municipalities

Milwaukee City Attorney

map showing milwaukee city attorney ward results

Evan Goyke won 63.3% of the vote, defeating Tearman Spencer in the race for City Attorney. He performed particularly well in the Washington Heights neighborhood and the neighborhoods along the lake. Spencer’s support was mainly limited to parts of the north side of the city.

Goyke carried 211 wards (to Spencer’s 124) and 10 of the city’s 15 aldermanic districts. Goyke won more than three quarters of the vote in the 3rd, 14th, 10th, and 4th districts.

Spencer’s best district was the 1st, where he won two-thirds of the vote, followed by the 2nd, where he won 63%.

Overall Turnout

map showing ward turnout as a share of registered voters

Interpreting turnout is always challenging, because factors like the mix of elections on a ballot and the competitiveness of those races always vary from one election year to another. Turnout in April 2024 appears to have been middling, compared to recent past cycles.

  • In 2020, about 210,000 voters, or 41% of registered voters, cast a ballot.
  • April 2022 saw about 145,000 voters, or 29% of registered voters.
  • This year, 165,000 voters participated, about 34% of those registered.

As a share of registered voters, turnout was highest on the north shore. The top-5 municipalities were Glendale, Greendale, Shorewood, Fox Point, and Bayside, among which turnout ranged from 42.1% to 45.4% of registered voters.

The lowest turnout came in West Milwaukee (22.6%), Cudahy (30.7%), West Allis (31.4%), and Milwaukee (31.6%).

Continue ReadingHighlights from the 2024 Spring Election in Milwaukee County

Behind the Pomp and Circumstance

This is the ninth in a series of weekly blog posts about the work of Marquette Law School’s Office of Student Affairs. The previous post and links to all prior posts from this series can be found at this link.

Diploma CoverThe Law School’s largest event of the year, by far, is graduation.

Or, as you may see it advertised, the Hooding and Commencement Ceremony. We use a variety of terms interchangeably to refer to the event, which historically has taken place on the third Saturday in May. Graduates walk across the stage and receive their law degree.

That sounds so sterile for such a meaningful event, doesn’t it? In fact—in truth—this event is rich and meaningful, both for our graduates, their families, friends, and guests and for those of us who work at the Law School—faculty and staff. It is inspiring to see students, who were nervous and maybe even a little scared when we first greeted them at Orientation, walk confidently across the stage at Commencement. We get to cheer for students who have gone through hardship triumph as they pass this important finish line. We celebrate not just how far all of our graduates have come but also the bright futures that await them.

The purpose of this blog post is to take you behind the scenes of graduation as it comes together.

The Law School’s Office of Student Affairs coordinates the “show,” but on the day-of, it’s an all-hands on deck production, which includes our Events, Facilities, and Tech teams, our Admissions Office, and a number of colleagues from the Law Library.

Planning for graduation starts before the academic year even begins (there’s a mark of our confidence). The prior spring (i.e., that of most graduates’ 2L year), we’re already in contract negotiations with the venue for the following May. And the dean is often considering and sending out an invitation to a potential guest speaker a year ahead.

Each year, we assess and revise, with an eye toward enhancing the experience for our graduates and their guests. Here are just a handful of those seemingly small details to which we’ve given a lot of thought:

  • Regalia Pickup and Graduate Fair
    • Graduation itself almost can be said to start before the day of graduation. As busy as the run up to graduation is for me personally (someone must go through all the regalia orders and ensure that tickets are counted and everything is in order), the Regalia Pickup and Graduate Fair, in Eckstein Hall a couple of days before graduation, is honestly one of my own favorite days. This has been a post-COVID initiative that might seem very business-oriented and straightforward (graduates need to get their regalia and tickets somehow), but we wanted to make sure to convey the message to our graduates that even when they leave us, they are not alone. The Law Alumni Association Board, the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the Milwaukee Bar Association all join in to welcome our soon-to-be new lawyers and help them get connected to resources and networks that will allow them to continue to be successful after leaving their student days behind.
  • Requesting a verbal recording of graduate names
    • We know how important it is to hear a graduate’s name said correctly. It’s why we request that graduates submit a recording of their names in advance. Our name reader then reviews the names in advance and does her best to deliver the memorable moment for the graduates and their families.
  • Seating graduates in alphabetical order
    • Why would we insist on having graduates seated and called on stage in alphabetical order by last name? It is so that families, friends, and guests of our law student know when to expect their graduate to walk across the stage and be hooded, and they don’t have to worry about sneezing and missing the big moment. (I won’t even tell you what happens to our elaborate seating charts when a graduate cancels last minute!)
  • Celebratory reception after the ceremony
    • Like a wedding, commencement can be a whirlwind experience. Looking back at my own graduations, I even have some regrets about missing out on photos with some classmates or missing an opportunity to introduce a mentor to my family because everyone scattered immediately after the ceremony. That’s why we have a reception in the rotunda outside of the theater, immediately following the formal ceremony. It gives everyone the chance to breathe a bit, mingle, socialize, and capture those opportunities with graduates, their families, friends, and our faculty and staff. (Pro tip: The dean likes being asked to join a photo.)[*]

Again, those are just a few examples of details requiring our attention. If all goes to plan (and it always seems to), we’ve created a two-hour (in other words, brief, for a commencement ceremony) quality event that our graduates and their guests will remember fondly. Although you may hear me say that graduation planning is a well-oiled machine, it’s only because we take so much care throughout the year to make sure all the little details are just right (I have the spreadsheets to prove it). Even those little details have major impacts.

[*] Beyond graduation, providing professional photography is another post-COVID initiative that we hope makes even more special the swearing-in or admission ceremony, which takes place in Madison the Monday after commencement. The Law School reserves an awesome photographer to capture each of our newest Marquette lawyers signing Wisconsin’s roll of attorneys. It’s always a treat to share these photos of this “magic moment.”

Continue ReadingBehind the Pomp and Circumstance