You Should Join Our Supreme Court Fantasy League

Posted: October 25, 2016 by beguide in Fantasy Supreme Court League, Uncategorized

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On November 1st, the Citizen’s Guide to the Supreme Court kicks off its second annual Supreme Court fantasy league. To help quell any concerns you may have about joining this particular league, lets cover possible reasons not to join and why those reason shouldn’t stop you.

  1. You are Afraid You are Going to Lose

I want to address this very legitimate concern with an anecdote.  Five years ago, I quit playing competitive fantasy football.  Reasons for this move included; but were certainly not limited to, (a) my 2008’s team loss in the fantasy playoffs being among the top 10 saddest moments of my life (b)  my wife needing to “have a talk” with me about obsessing about my team, and (c) getting more legitimate-not-hyperbole death threats (one) than actual championships (zero).  Ultimately, the pain was not worth the reward.

That is until earlier this summer when a female friend of mine posted an open invitation to play in a mostly female fantasy football league.  I figured this was a nice way to ease back into the game, even though I readily admit those reasons were mostly based in sexism. My assumption was that women would be nicer, less competitive and hopefully not as good at fantasy football. These assumptions, foolish as they were, paid early dividends, as the draft featured many well-wishes and nice comments (as opposed to allegations that other team owners had sex with my mother that I experience in the past), and my team looked dominant coming out the gate.

Fast forward seven weeks, my team is in solid last place with one win. I have no excuses for this performance, as my team has not suffered catastrophic injuries nor faced unusually high scoring teams.  The truth is, I am getting wildly outplayed by everyone in the league and there’s nothing I can do about it except enjoy the nice emails everyone sends to each other and be thankful that no one has assailed the dignity of my poor mother on the discussion board.

The point of this story is that worrying about losing this league is frivolous because chances are you are going to lose.  Fantasy leagues of any form (football, baseball, Olympics, Project Runway, Battlebots, American Idol) are premised on the idea that only one person can win; and therefore, worrying about losing is akin to worrying about death and taxes.   There’s no shame in losing, and sometimes getting your butt kicked in fantasy can teach you valuable lessons about why you should respect women in all venues, sports or otherwise.

  1. You are Not a Lawyer and Therefore You in Particular Have No Chance at Winning.

In the last paragraph I casually dropped the idea of Fantasy Olympics, Project Runway, Battlebots and American Idol, and that wasn’t just me talking out my ass.  In what is likely a skill I shouldn’t be bragging about online, I have regularly tried to create fantasy games where such leagues did not otherwise exist.  While some leagues work great, others fail in the scoring calculation, making one team radically better than another or everyone the same. My specific concern with creating a fantasy league based on the Supreme Court was that (1) people who follow the Supreme Court regularly, went to law school and/or practice law for a living would have an unfair advantage, or (2) everyone would pick the same thing and picking Supreme Court outcomes would be too easy.

Needless to say, that was nowhere close to happening. First, Nazim and I (two lawyers who run a weekly Supreme Court podcast) were terrible at picking outcomes and neither of us came within 100 points of first place. As it turns out, the best Supreme Court prognosticators included people who worked in science or social services, and no lawyer aside from myself was even in the top half of the rankings.  To add even more credence to the position that you don’t have to be a lawyer to win, my friend Ray used the predictions from Lexis Predict as his answers instead of his own judgment.  Despite aping the best source imaginable, Ray rarely beat Nazim, who failed to fill out a third of the ballots, and had only a nominal lead over Nazim’s wife, who I forced to fill out two ballots in December against her will.  Therefore, even though you will probably lose, your profession, legal experience, and/or confidence in Supreme Court law will have very little to do with it.

  1. You Are Afraid that Filing Out the Ballots Will be Too Hard.

You may not know this, but lawyers are terrible with technology. When I was in law school I worked for an older judge who called me into his office so I could show him where the “enter” key was on his desktop keyboard. Despite crossing that threshold and despite looking like someone who would be proficient in computer software, I am actually woefully inept at most computer programs. My use of Microsoft Excel is about as graceful as a monkey playing guitar. Because of that, last year’s system of using a word document as a ballot and then manually inputting them was a monstrous pain in the ass that led to most people giving up.

This year, I am completely disavowed from the mechanics of the system. We now have a super easy webpage that you can use at any time, with links being posted to the website (www.citizensguidetothesupremecourt.com) every month.  To make things even easier, if you find you no longer want to participate, just quit! The stakes as radically low as there is no buy-in fee and the prize is a box full of weird things I found in my house and this t-shirt I made with stuff I bought at AC Moore based on your favorite Supreme Court Justice.

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So why not give it a shot!? Every case on the ballot corresponds with episodes from that month and we will be posting easy summarizes of each decision to help you make your picks.    There is also a one month grace period for every case, so no case is scored if ruled on in the 30 days following that ballot.  If you’re convinced, all you have to do is send an email to citizensguidetothesupremecourt@gmail.com saying “I’m in” and you are on the mailing list.  Good luck and I look forward to beating you all.

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Comments
  1. Lane from Philadelphia says:

    I was the winner of last season’s SCOTUS fantasy league. I am not a lawyer, have never been to law school, and have no plans to do so. Non-lawyers can be totally better than lawyers when predicting somewhat arbitrary legal decisions, it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christi says:

    In case you are getting fewer signups that you thought you might… The email link in the last paragraph above is wrong. Although the text of the link says citizensguidetothesupremecourt@gmail.com the actual link goes to citizensguidesupremecourt@gmail.com
    I got two bounced emails before I figured out why.

    Like

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