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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    December 01, 2016


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    Good Idea

    Election 2016: The Real Winner = Marijuana

    shopping list

    In the November election, four more states voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana: California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. Those states join pot pioneers Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon in the pot legalization movement.

    “With these new laws, more than 20 percent of the American population lives in a state or territory that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana,” according to the editorial board at The New York Times.

    “This should push President-elect Trump and the next Congress to remove the drug from the Controlled Substances Act and repeal federal criminal penalties for possessing small quantities of marijuana. This would give states that are moving ahead with legalization certainty that the federal government will not try to thwart their policies.”

    Last month, four other states voted to legalize cannabis for medical purposes: Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana.

    Marijuana is not legal for recreational or medicinal purposes in Wisconsin, but neighbors Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois allow it for medical use.

    By the Numbers


    The number of pending federal court judicial nominees tapped by President Barack Obama. One of them is Donald Schott, nominated to fill one of two open seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Schott is a partner in the Madison office of Quarles & Brady LLP.

    Schott was nominated in January 2016 to fill the full-time seat that opened when Judge Terence Evans took senior status in 2010 (he died in 2011).

    Vacant for more than six years, this is the oldest federal judicial vacancy in the country. According to, Schott is among 23 nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and awaiting a full Senate vote. But writer Zoe Tillman says the Senate “will send back nominees who aren’t confirmed by the end of the year,” and renominations are rare when the White House switches parties.

    On the Radar

    Sykes on President-elect Trump’s List for U.S. Supreme Court

    Diane Sykes

    Diane Sykes, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice (1999-2004) and a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, is on U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump’s list of 21 potential candidates to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Sykes, a 1984 graduate of Marquette University Law School, is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She was nominated to that post by President George W. Bush in 2003.

    Trump will fill the vacant seat to bring the court to a full nine justices.

    Last February, Trump released a statement pegging Sykes as one of two candidates he felt “would best represent the conservative values we need to protect.”

    P.S. Last month, Trump appointed Reince Priebus as his chief of staff. Priebus, also a State Bar of Wisconsin member, is a partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP in Milwaukee. He took a leave of absence to serve as chair of the Republican National Committee and will now serve as one of the president’s top aides.


    “People don’t go to advisors for information anymore. They go for clarity and curation; they need somebody to distill the abundance of information available to them.”

    jet in flight

    – Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and chief executive of Virtuoso, in an article titled, “Why Travelers are Returning to Travel Agents.”

    “What stresses people today isn’t the lack of information. It’s not knowing if they are asking the right questions.”

    Hmmm. Tell us what you think. Are these ideas applicable to lawyers and legal information?

    Out There

    Post-truth: International Word of the Year

    ornament with long nose

    Editors at Oxford Dictionaries recently picked “post-truth” as the 2016 international word of the year.

    An adjective, it means “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

    The word dates back to the 1990s, but usage spiked by 2,000 percent in 2016, particularly within the phrase post-truth politics, according to

    “It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse,” said Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries.

    “Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.”

    Last year’s word of the year was an emoji shedding tears of joy. Really.

    Question & Answer

    Santa Claus Visits in Wisconsin Down Since 2011

    Santa Claus

    Santa Claus may have visited fewer homes in the five-year period since 2011, the year Wisconsin enacted the so-called “castle doctrine,” speculates Joe Forward, legal writer at the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    The law allows a person to use deadly force against someone who unlawfully and forcibly enters their dwelling, regardless of whether such force is necessary or reasonable to defend against imminent death or substantial harm.

    Legal commentators have said the castle doctrine would not apply to Santa Claus in homes where he is an invited guest once per year, and those who don’t want Santa to enter their homes should place a “No Santa” sign on the chimney (the door if there’s no chimney).

    Still, Santa has said the Wisconsin law deters him from entering homes that have not given him written permission.

    “If my office does not receive a signed document by Dec. 20, it’s just not happening,” said Santa. “I let flying reindeer pull me through the air. How much more risk can I take with my life?”

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