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David Ziemer

THE DARK SIDE: What makes an environmental defense lawyer?

I was having a nice conversation with another attorney the other day when we began talking about environmental law. We were both in agreement that the work environmental defense lawyers do is very important. But in the middle of the conversation, we discovered that we have vastly different definitions of what makes an environmental defense lawyer.

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Dealing with judicial death threats

Last month, a New Jersey man was arrested and charged with making death threats against three judges on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The motivation for the threats was the unremarkable opinion in NRA v. City of Chicago, No. ...

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Citation of unpublished opinions starts July 1

July 1 will be a landmark day in Wisconsin legal history. Starting that day, attorneys will be allowed to cite some unpublished Court of Appeals' opinions. Unpublished but authored opinions issued on July 1 or after can be cited for ...

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Don’t interfere with jury deliberations

Whether to change Wisconsin’s rules governing joint and several liability is an issue that will certainly rise again, even if it is not included in the state’s budget bill. I don’t intend here to take any position on what the ...

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Judicial elections – I give up

I have long opposed changes to how Wisconsin elects its judges. From proposals for appointment, to so-called “merit-selection,” to limits on the amount of campaign contributions, I have opposed them all. But I’m switching sides, now. What is the cause ...

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When contracts are outlawed, only outlaws will enter contracts

Today, May 28, Rep. Gordon Hintz is proposing a new law to outlaw payday loans. http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=159936 That’s not what the law actually says, of course. It merely imposes a cap of 36 percent interest annually on such loans. Consider the ...

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Appropriate Attire

Apparently, some of the federal judges at the Seventh Circuit Bar Association convention this week believe that some attorneys’ clothing choices are inappropriate. It seems pretty simple to me: wear your conservative paisley ties at trial, especially when you do ...

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Sidestepping taxes

Taxes can make hypocrites of us all. Men who exaggerate their income when they meet women will plead penury to the IRS. Families who think their home is priceless will call it a dump to the tax assessor. The “buy ...

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Right On!

This blog post by Amber Taylor is the most sensible thing you can find out there on law schools and their curricula. I may be one of those lawyers who ceased actively practicing law after nine years to write full-time. ...

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This is cool

A free 120-page primer from the Federal Judicial Center on the jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals. Link to PDF

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Unpublished Opinions

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved amending Rule 809.23 to permit citation to some unpublished opinions, they formed a committee to see how the new rule will work. It doesn’t take effect until July 1, and only opinions issued after ...

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Keep the Uniformity Clause

Years ago, one of the candidates for mayor of Milwaukee (not Mayor Tom Barrett) proposed that Milwaukee should charge long-term residents of their homes less in property taxes than newcomers. She thought it was terrible that retirees should have their ...

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Too high, too low, or just right?

State Representative Gary Sherman wants to amend the constitution, to do away with spring elections. Noting that voter turnout in November was 90%, but the spring election was only 19%, Sherman thinks its an embarrassment and undemocratic for only 19% ...

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Unintended Consequences

I recently accepted an appointment to represent a defendant charged with misdemeanor battery in a domestic violence context. It was my first such case in many years. Not much had changed, except for one thing. It is now a violation ...

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I am taking the toy away from the child

We have all been hoping for clean judicial elections this spring. But alas, the first filth has been flung, and much to my horror, it is my own work. Every January, I count the affirmances and reversals of circuit court ...

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I am shocked

Recently, a poll question running here at the Law Journal asked whether readers thought judges should be required to disclose their reasons when they recuse themselves from a case. The result was a 50/50 split on the issue. I had ...

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Am I missing something?

Congress has now passed, and President Obama has signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, effectively overturning the 2007 Supreme Court opinion in Ledbetter’s case, holding that employees could not sue under Title VII for discrimination that occurred ...

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Racial stereotype or ageism?

A divided panel of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently vacated a sentence based on comments by the white sentencing judge that the court found could be construed as exhibiting racial bias against the black defendant. http://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=35252 I will admit ...

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