2020 News

Faculty & Staff
The Hill

Dr. Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law Poll, spoke about how population shifts have put the 435th seat in the House of Representatives up for grabs. "The relative shift of population and seats from the Northeast, Midwest and, for the first time, California and into the South and Southwest isn't a new trend,” Franklin said. “But it does reflect the decades-long shift that has had political and economic consequences, at least for the balance of power among states and regions in the House."

Story appeared on The Hill, Dec. 24, 2020

Faculty & Staff
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

Prof. Edward Fallone, associate professor of law, discussed the trend of lawsuits seeking to erase powers of local health departments. He said the resistance to public health warnings mirrors the country’s political divide. “The role of government must be to act for the good of the people,” Fallone added. “The founding fathers believed that liberty meant self-government that creates laws for the good of the many.” 

Story appeared in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), Dec. 13, 2020

Faculty & Staff
CBS 58
Prof. Ed Fallone Reflects on the Passing of WI Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson

Prof. Edward Fallone, professor of law, talked about the legacy, as well as his personal memories, of former Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson who died Dec. 19 at the age of 87. “I remember I introduced myself to her and I will never forget she said, ‘Oh, Professor Fallone, I have read what you have written. Some of it, I agree with,’” Fallone said. “As far as the future, we are not going to see someone with her credentials as a justice on the State Supreme Court again.”

Story aired on WDJT-TV (CBS 58), Dec. 12, 2020

Associated Press

Dr. Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law Poll, spoke about the impact the pandemic had on voter attitude toward President Trump. “Approval of President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 is the next-strongest predictor of vote choice” behind voters’ party affiliation and their overall approval of Trump’s performance as president, Franklin said. “And it’s not just a fluke of a single survey.”

Story appeared on the Associated Press, Dec. 11, 2020

Faculty & Staff
CBS 58

Prof. Atiba Ellis, professor of law, discussed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton potentially suing Wisconsin and three other states in an effort to invalidate the 2020 presidential election results and order the state legislatures to decide the winner. Ellis said one state suing another is one of the few cases that can go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that it is not likely in this instance. “The courts may well say, no, we’ve already heard this," he said. "There have been other rulings on this. We don’t need to run the game again.”

Story aired on WDJT-TV (CBS 58), Dec. 8, 2020

Faculty & Staff

Prof. Edward Fallone, associate professor of law, discussed the presence of slavery as a punishment in the Wisconsin constitution. “What the constitution says is that the institution of slavery shall not exist except in cases of persons who have been convicted of a crime,” Fallone said, adding that it doesn’t mean a judge could sentence someone to slavery for committing a crime. “What it does mean is that if you are in prison and you are forced to do labor during the course of your imprisonment, then you can’t claim that you are enslaved and being forced into slave labor in violation of the constitutional ban on slavery.”

Story aired WFRV-TV (CBS 5), Dec. 7, 2020


Dr. Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law Poll, discussed the margin of error in political polling. Franklin said an excess of precision in polling can actually detract from the work of pollsters. "We've got to remember that the purpose of public polling of this sort is to facilitate a public conversation about public affairs and elections," he said. A public-facing poll, he added, is not like a scientific paper, trying "to produce the most precise estimate and statements of confidence and hypothesis test.”

Story appeared on Salon, Nov. 28, 2020

Franklin also spoke with Lancaster Online for a Nov. 30 story about the polarization of politics at the state level and its effect on policymaking.

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

Dr. Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law Poll, discussed questions raised by inaccurate polling ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Supporters of President Donald Trump have proven to be a tough group to accurately poll, leading to noticeable discrepancies between polls and the final election margins. “We're getting elections without Trump on the ballot and we’re getting Democratic candidates,” Franklin said. “But we’re still badly underestimating Donald Trump.”

Story appeared in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, Nov. 20, 2020

Faculty & Staff
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Prof. Atiba Ellis, professor of law, commented on suspicions raised over the validity of Milwaukee’s voting results, and the impact on minority voters after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, announced he would use the Legislature’s power to subpoena witnesses to investigate the election. “The 20th century is littered with cases where the selective questioning of votes cast by people of color has been used to silence their political strength,” Ellis said. “And this kind of rhetoric echoes that. I’m not saying that that’s what he was thinking, but this rhetoric is dangerous because it can be seen that way.”

Story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Nov. 19, 2020

Faculty & Staff
State Bar of Wisconsin

Prof. Michael O’Hear, professor of law, discussed efforts by lawyers to get vulnerable inmates released amid the pandemic, and how compassionate release works differently for state and federal prisoners. “For the most part, the inmates seeking compassionate release in Wisconsin received prison terms that were selected by the sentencing court through an exercise of discretion,” O’Hear said. “By contrast, a larger share of federal sentences result from harsh mandatory minimums. Additionally, many of the older inmates who are now seeking federal compassionate release were sentenced back when the federal sentencing guidelines were more binding on judges.”

Story appeared on the State Bar of Wisconsin, Nov. 18, 2020