Scalia’s Death Disrupts Not Only SCOTUS, But Also FantasySCOTUS

FantasySCOTUS

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has roiled the nation, fueled political rancor and disrupted the institution that he served for nearly 30 years.

But there is one impact of his death that major news outlets have overlooked — its effect  on FantasySCOTUS.

Just like fantasy sports leagues, there is a fantasy SCOTUS league. Participants — mostly attorneys, law professors and law students — make predictions about the outcomes of Supreme Court cases. Winners predict how each justice will vote in a case. Those who are correct most often can receive cash prizes of as much as $10,000 (paid, presumably, by the site’s sponsor Thomson Reuters).

So what does the death of Justice Scalia mean for the competition? Yesterday, FantasySCOTUS sent out an alert to its participants explaining how it is handling it:

In response to the questions that many players have sent, we will mark Justice Scalia as recused in all cases not yet decided for this term. No points will be awarded for predicting his vote in any previously argued decisions, and any previously submitted predictions for his votes will not impact your score. In the event that decision ties at 4-4, we will score the case as an Affirm as we have previously done. No action should be required on your part.

Meanwhile, the company that operates FantasySCOTUS, LexPredict, has made its own predictions, using artificial intelligence, of how Justice Scalia’s death will affect the Supreme Court’s docket. LexPredict has developed an algorithm, {MARSHALL}+, that the company says can accurately predict Supreme Court cases. Using their algorithm, they’ve come up with predictions on which cases will be affected.

Both LexPredict and FantasySCOTUS are run by Josh Blackman, the South Texas College of Law professor who serves as LexPredict’s director of judicial research, Daniel Martin Katz, the professor at Chicago Kent College of Law who serves as its chief strategy officer, and Michael Bommarito, its chief executive officer.