6/24/12

Supreme Court Justices Will Issue ObamaCare Opinion and Exit the Building for Summer Break: My Prediction and Here's Why and What It Means to Your Law Blog

Cocooned in my own little world, with a keyboard, a screen, and a deadline (or three), I haven't been aware until this weekend of all the hoopla surrounding the impending Obamacare opinion coming down from the United States Supreme Court over the past few weeks.

Seems there was a bunch of folk that thought we'd have their decision long before now, and I have to wonder why ... ratings?  over-eager? never met a judge (much less been one)?  Now, things are getting fever-pitched. 


Here's the thing:  this is going to bring a big, huge spotlight shining on those Justices and don't think for a minute that those Legal Brainiacs are not fully aware of this upcoming scrunity.  Which means that they aren't going to issue that ruling until they are ready to zip out for the summer break. 

That's this week.  We should have the Obamacare ruling this week -- unless they decide to hold off until right before the Presidential Election (which they can).  The U.S. Supreme Court will be on vacation for the next few months. 

It's the smart thing to do, issue the opinion right before the break, and not for the cameras.  Though there is that - and it's a valid reason. 

It's also somewhat savvy to hold off on the opinion until after the hiatus, though you can spin that argument either way, politically speaking.  I'm thinking they'll issue their opinion this week, if they're done with it. 

Here's the United States Supreme Court Docket Page on Obamacare -- it's actually a series of cases that are being considered regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

It's the smart thing to do because the opinion (and its inevitable concurrences and dissents in all or in part) should stand on its own.  It is the opinion that should get the spotlight, it is the opinion that should be read and reread and discussed by the Talking Heads.

Why?  Because the opinion is what counts. It is the law and it is written to be analyzed, discussed, and used in the years to come.  The rationale for their decision (the "why") will be addressed in those paragraphs, and this should be the only answer we need.

Also, there's the fact that Justices don't give press conferences.  Not that they aren't smart to get the heck out of Dodge as this thing hits the media.  I'd go escape to some pretty place with a water view, too. 

If you're really interested in all this, SCOTUS blog is live blogging the events this week.  Go here for details. 

What This Means to Your Law Blog

Jumping down from my soapbox, here's my second point which I will be sharing with my consulting clients this week:  reading the comments to various news stories, it's clear that lots of people do not understand the impact of precedent upon their lives.  They get that they vote on people to go to Congress or the state house and vote on laws.  They get that the President can order things to happen.  Many understand the impact of agencies on their lives (particularly workers' compensation).

One thing ObamaCare does is bring an opportunity for lawyers to discuss how the judiciary works - not just in Washington, but in their own neck of the woods.

And not in legalese.  I would suggest NOT writing your posts in a lawyer-to-lawyer manner.  Write about the importance of courts and what power they exert in the vocabulary and sentence structure most clients will appreciate. 

  • Court cases, not legal precedent
  • Decision, not opinion
  • Sent for reconsideration by a higher court, not sent up for review

You get the idea.


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