Oprah Winfrey is trying to lay claim to the “aha moment”. After Mutual of Omaha proclaimed itself the “official sponsor of the aha moment” in a major marketing campaign, the talk show queen sent the insurance a company a request to “cease and desist” use of the phrase on the basis she was the first to popularize it.
In response, Mutual filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming it has the right use the phrase in advertisements as a result of its submission of a federal trademark application in February and Oraph’s prior failure to police use of the phrase. The company claims its “research to obtain its federal trademark uncovered no competing federally registered trademarks, and the trademark application received no opposition.” Yet, Chicagoan Richard Roeper’s research revealed hundreds of examples in which the phrase has been used in pop culture.
While the insurance company’s campaign defines the aha moment as “those amazing, uplifting, inspirational moments that changed [people’s] lives,” what’s most interesting is how scientists have discovered what scientists have discovered about such moments.
President Obama shared some of the principles he will follow in selecting someone to replace Justice Souter:
“I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives — whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.
I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving as just decisions and outcomes.”
“I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role.
I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.”
The two parts of this statement might strike many as inconsistent. One may feel there are situations in which the rules established by law may not always facilitate the hopes and struggles of all people– that often parties in court are confronting a law or legal principle that benefits one parties hopes to the detriment to the others. What is consistent with what most believe to be Constitutional principles is that the judicial branch interpret the intent of the legislative branch and the founders, not the hopes of the parties before the bench. It sounds as though the President’s description better suits the conception of a good legislator rather than one charged with applying the law.