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The Dark Side

Bridge for no one a costly mistake

Good bridges make good neighbors. We’re blessed with some great bridges here in Wisconsin. The bridge that connects downtown Milwaukee to Walker’s Point (that’s the historic Fifth Ward to you younger attorneys) is a masterpiece.

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A man of commerce, not Congress

In December 2000 it snowed every day, and lots of it. By the end of the month, the snow was piled so high that people could only pass each other on downtown Milwaukee sidewalks through mutual accommodation and respect.

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Commentary: Law school, Lochner and a life’s work

The other day, I advised a young friend to attend law school, and she agreed. We mutually decided that it was the best means for her to accomplish her goals in life. “So, what do you want to do with your life?” I asked her. “I want to fight poverty,” she answered. “A most noble goal,” I vouchsafed ... Subscribe ...

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Commentary: On entrepreneurship and shrubbery

I am intrigued by the saga of two students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who have run afoul of the law by running a liquor delivery service. Apparently, students would place an order for alcohol on a website called campusdrank.com, and for a $2 added charge, the liquor would be delivered to them. In a civilized society, ... Subscribe Login ...

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Commentary: Supreme Court dumbs down legal research

Suppose you’re doing research for a brief in support of a motion to exclude some piece of evidence from an upcoming trial. You come upon a published opinion by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals that is directly on point. But it has a flag, indicating that it is no longer good for at least one point ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: Bullying and breeding new attorneys

The school year that starts this fall will be totally different from what it used to be. Pursuant to a new law, effective Aug. 15, every school board in Wisconsin must have an “anti-bullying” policy. I have no doubt that the law will entirely eliminate bullying in schools. After all, since the federal government outlawed marijuana in 1937, ... Subscribe ...

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Commentary: Judicial nominations – then and now

So President Obama has appointed UW law professor Victoria Nourse to replace retiring Judge Terence Evans on the Seventh Circuit. Needless to say, it’s not a choice I would make. For me, the simple fact that she wrote an article in the California Law Review last year entitled “A Tale of Two Lochners,” in which she ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: Be the first to ‘like’ The Dark Side

Several years ago, my friend Pilar announced to me that she had just gotten a MySpace page. She said I should do the same so that we could be MySpace pals, or something to that effect. I explained to her that I was 40 years old, and if I had a MySpace page, people would think ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: On liberty of contract and stray kittens

Whenever progressives interfere with the constitutional right to liberty of contract, there are invariably consequences that they intend, and consequences they did not intend. Thus, when they raise the minimum wage, they intend to jack up the unemployment rate. What they don’t intend is that people will switch from the legal job market to working for ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: Dealing with presumptuous judges

Several years back, I told a friend of mine who sits on an appellate court that she was a much better appellate judge than she ever was a trial judge. When she asked why I said that, I told her it was because she didn’t know her proper role back when she was on the trial ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: McDonald's complaints a supersized combo of pointlessness

The other day, I learned that some racketeers, who go by the misnomer Center for Science in the Public Interest, are threatening to sue the McDonald’s Corporation unless it immediately stops using toys to market Happy Meals. Normally, when I read something like that, I: (1) verify it is real, and not some satire piece from ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: Confessions of a former deca smuggler

Yet again, Congress is staging a photo-op under the pretense of protecting the game of baseball from evil steroid users. There are so many wonderful things they could be doing, like repealing the Sherman Act, or the minimum wage, or the National Labor Relations Act, or the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. But no. They want to ... Subscribe Login ...

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Commentary: My government is so good for me

I'm so glad that I have such a wonderful, beneficent, and paternalistic state government to protect me. Why, just less than two weeks ago, our thoughtful masters at the Department of Regulation & Licensing ordered continuing education classes for hair stylists, barbers, manicurists, aestheticians and electrologists. For some reason, my spellchecker doesn't even recognize "electrologist" as a ... Subscribe Login ...

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Commentary: Whistleblower Protection Act only obstructs justice

I'm afraid I owe our readers an apology. While I've been turning The Dark Side into a Bohemian poetry review, the state Legislature has passed, and the governor has signed into law, a gross infringement of our clients' constitutional right to compulsory process. On May 18, Gov. Doyle signed into law 2009 Assembly Bill 333, authorizing journalists ... Subscribe Login ...

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Commentary: Avoiding difficult questions made easy

One of the hazards of being an attorney, as I'm sure all of you have discovered, is that laypersons expect you to have an opinion on a whole variety of things far outside the realm of your knowledge. Supreme Court nominations are one such instance. I've read almost every published court opinion issued since 2000 by the ... Subscribe Login ...

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Commentary: Arguments aplenty at state bar convention

A remarkable coincidence occurred on May 6. Governor Jim Doyle announced that the billion-dollar, high-speed train from Milwaukee to nowhere would be redirected to run from Milwaukee to the architectural train wreck that is the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. On the same day, lawyers were gathered at the convention center/train wreck for the State Bar ... Subscribe Login ...

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Commentary: A beautiful Constitution lies underneath ugly precedents

I recently was talking with a friend at a cocktail party given by the Dane County Bar Association in Madison (yes, I do have many friends in Madison, although they may find The Dark Side perplexing at times). Anyway, we were talking about a house he once owned that was built in the 1920s. It was ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: No coincidence Earth Day is Lenin’s birthday

April 22 is Earth Day. Very appropriately, and not by any means coincidentally, Earth Day is celebrated on the birthday of the socialist tyrant Vladimir Lenin. It's appropriate that the two are celebrated on the same day, because there is no relevant difference between the socialist and environmentalist agendas in this country. Saving the environment is ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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Commentary: Wanted: litigators, not social workers

I recently attended a lecture at Marquette by former U.S. District Court Judge Mark R. Filip. Among the things he said is that judges, however learned in the law they may be, have no special moral training. And that sentencing a defendant, unlike deciding an evidentiary motion, is essentially a moral judgment, not a legal one. I ... Subscribe Login ...

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Powder/crack cocaine as different as Metallica and U2

I recently met a very beautiful and intelligent young attorney who pretty much sets the standard for the perfect woman: in addition to the aforementioned qualities, she’s a member of the Federalist Society and her favorite band is Metallica. In the course of our conversation, she remarked that she and her husband were going to a ... Subscribe Login Digital ...

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True-blue Americans read beatnik poetry, too

As you can imagine, last week’s column about the poetry of John Milton went over well on The Dark Side. What you may not guess, though, is that in my social circles any discussion of poetry inevitably leads to the leftist poet, Delmore Schwartz.It matters not whether it occurs in a high-brow salon or a ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

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Commentary: ‘Social justice’ is a euphemism for ‘tyranny’

Deep down, I’m just a simple, provincial lawyerSo, the powerlust that motivates what is called “the social justice crowd” has always been something I couldn’t fathom. I gave up trying to understand their motivation decades ago.In rereading John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” though, I may have finally found the understanding I was seeking. The most powerful ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

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Commentary: On restoration of our basic privileges and immunities

Last weekend, I went on an outing with a conservative organization to a shooting range.Perhaps there are better ways to spend the Sabbath than target practice with a group of beautiful, right-thinking, heavily-armed young women. But none come to mind just now.The particular weapon that I brought to the event was a revolver manufactured in ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

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Commentary: Something completely different, and yet the same

The other day my fellow Law Journal columnist, Jane Pribek, and I decided to swap columns.I would give advice on how to save a few bucks, and she would explore The Dark Side of the legal profession.“So, where do you get your column ideas?” I asked.“I spend lots of time on the Internet looking for ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

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Commentary: Transactional work can be high drama, too

Surely, one of the most remarkable events of the recent Winter Olympics was the emergence of women’s curling as must-see television.People would sit down and ask, “Why is this even on television?”Fifteen to twenty minutes later, they would be rebuffing attempts at conversation with, “I can’t talk now. I have to watch this shot by ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

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Commentary: Some folks just can’t perceive the obvious

I read a riotously funny article the other day, about how state laws banning texting or talking on cell phones while driving have no effect whatsoever on the number of crashes.What’s so funny about that?What’s so funny is the inability of the “experts” to come up with an explanation for the data.One said that the ... Subscribe Login Digital and ...

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