Frustrated with fantasy football? Try Fantasy Supreme Court – New Web Site Lets you predict outcome of upcoming decisions
- predict the outcome of high court cases –Students can play the game for free; others can play for $10 or less
Washington (CNN) — Forget about baseball, football and the Academy Awards. The hottest new fantasy-league game involves the Supreme Court.
A month-old Web site called FantasySCOTUS.net allows people to predict all of the high court’s pending cases.
Josh Blackman, a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, created the game in his spare time.
“In the digital age, everyone has an opinion and is eager to share it,” Blackman said. “They know how a case will come out, and this gives them a way to play a justice.”
The growing fantasy league has 2,000 members, mostly students, who can sign up for free. Professionals and other individuals can join for $10 or less.
The rules are simple. Thirteen points are up for grabs in each case, and they are awarded as follows:
• One point for correctly predicting the outcome;
• Three points for correctly predicting how the vote is split — for example, 5-4 or 6-3;
• And one point for every justice’s vote correctly predicted.
The court will hear about 80 cases before wrapping up in late June. Blackman said the league’s winner will then receive the first “Chief Justice Award.”
The court itself is not involved in FantasySCOTUS, and it does not endorse it. Court sources say, however, that several justices are aware of the fantasy league and find it interesting. Blackman said that to his knowledge, no judges — federal or state — have signed up to play.
“Most of the participants are students, I’d say about 90 percent,” he said. “I’ve been contacted by high schools and middle schools across the country. Teachers are having their students play. They say it’s a great way to get them involved in understanding the Constitution and how laws are interpreted. They can wrap their hands around it. It’s an experience you don’t get by just reading a text.”
The case everyone is now following, Blackman said, deals with a potential overhaul of federal campaign spending. Such an overhaul could give corporations and labor unions more power to spend their own money on political messages.
So far, about two-thirds of FantasySCOTUS players predict the conservative-majority court will undercut the current spending limitations imposed by Congress. A ruling isn’t expected until next month at the earliest.
Blackman said the campaign spending case inspired him to create his Web site last month.
“A friend asked me how I thought the case might turn out, and I wondered, ‘If [Las] Vegas put odds on it, what would it be?’ ” Blackman said. “And I thought, why not create a site to do just that?”
Blackman said no money is wagered on his league, which requires serious gamers to do at least some research on current and past cases.
“We’ll never know what goes on behind chambers, when the justices decide these very important cases,” he said. “But when you get past the grandeur, the mystery of the court, this league is something where anybody can participate. It’s not just for the legal nerd. The cases come down to facts, to law. It makes people feel like they are more involved in understanding what goes on up there.”