By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
It has been an up and down week for the Obama administration in the Supreme Court. On Monday, the Justice Department scored a mixed result on Arizona's immigration law preserving the "papers please" policy that Arizona intends to apply to immigrants in that state, allowing police officers to demand proof of citizenship from those who are stopped. Then, this morning, the Court gave a substantial lift to the White House by preserving the individual mandate, a key provision in President Obama's healthcare reform legislation under Congress's taxation power. Commentators have already described the result as "a landmark decision that will impact the nation for decades" on the the signature domestic legislation of the Obama presidency.
The implications of the 193-page decision are still sorting themselves out, and others will write voluminously on the political ramifications, as well as the effects of the decision on the U.S. healthcare system. In keeping with the focus of Persuasive Litigator,however, my first thoughts tend toward the messages for litigators. In this case, I believe that there are some important lessons now, with more sure to emerge over time. Specifically, the takeaways from the verdict and the process relate not only to a political and social milieu that has a direct effect on how today's jurors see litigants, but also bear upon the more general question of how attorneys should learn from, build off, and even 'spin' the wins, the losses, and the mixed results.