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It was that kind of gumption that impressed the audience, the Justices and Jennifer Mercurio. "He had the perfect mix of aggression when he needed to as well as acting reflective," she said in praise of Paul Smith. "He has a brilliant legal mind and I was so happy that he was up there representing the industry. I don't think anyone could have done a better job." She believes that his arguments will have a profound effect on the outcome of this decision. "In any kind of case, if one has a mediocre attorney representing one's side, the justices may come to the conclusion on their own, but a good litigator walks hand-in-hand with the Justices to move them along the path of the argument."
It must be pointed out that the attorney from California, Morazzini, might have made a serious mistake when he said that he had little knowledge of videogames and it could have cost California its case. "Morazzini may have offended the Court in his admitting never to have played videogames, which made it seem like he didn't know what he was talking about regarding the media overall," Mercurio noted. "I find it astonishing that anyone would have the chutzpah to stand in front of the Supreme Court of the United States and call something obscene and bestial and not have experienced the joy of Tetris, or Mario Kart, or The Sims. I was dumbfounded. I found it very sad to hear someone get up and make all kinds of aspersions against an entire medium based on clips of, it's my understanding, one game, Postal 2. It's honestly inconceivable to me but that's what he said."
Like many events that you prepare months or even years for, it was over before Mercurio knew it. The oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association took place between 10:04 am and 11:04 am on that brisk morning in our nation's capital, but its effects will last forever. Mercurio was careful not to make any outlandish predictions, but it's clear after speaking to her and getting a feel for what it was like in the courtroom that she and the ECA is optimistic as to the outcome. "Everybody felt that we've done everything we've can. We've put our best foot forward. Paul Smith was phenomenal. It was amazing to witness that level of engagement from the Justices, and now we've got to wait. There was no feeling of regret," she said.
Waiting will be difficult. The nine Justices will deliberate on what they heard during the oral arguments and each will cast a vote for which side they support. A Justice from the winning side will write a decision, and the results will be announced as soon as that process is complete. There is a lot at stake. "Should the Court decide for California, videogames will become less accessible and more expensive, and the law will send a chilling wind through the entire industry and could affect other entertainment mediums like movies and music," Mercurio said. "A win for the EMA/ESA would encourage the industry to continue making groundbreaking new games for us all to enjoy." Let's hope that, when the decision of the Supreme Court is delivered sometime in the first half of 2011, the arguments heard on November 2nd had a profound effect and the rights of videogames are held to be just as important to our culture as all other pieces of art.
Greg Tito would like to thank James Madison for making this article possible.