Tag: FantasySCOTUS

The Wise Crowds Say Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional

FantasySCOTUS.net, a project of the Constitution-educating Harlan Institute (on whose non-profit board I sit), has been tracking its 12,000+ members’ predictions in the Obamacare case before the Supreme Court.  You can read more in-depth about the current state of the prediction market – with fancy graphs! – but here’s a summary:

The FantasySCOTUS managers caution that these predictions are still preliminary, particularly because most members don’t offer predictions until after oral arguments.  To learn more about FantasySCOTUS and its crowdsourcing techniques (“wisdom of the crowds”), see this recent article from the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property.

And if you want to get in on the predicting, you can sign up here.

Predicting the Supreme Court

Josh Blackman, my sometimes co-author, who is the president of the Harlan Institute (with which I too am associated) and czar – his title, not mine – of FantasySCOTUS.net, has co-authored a fascinating article that analyzes an information market he created to predict Supreme Court cases.

During the October 2009 Supreme Court term (last year), the 5,000 members of FantasySCOTUS.net made over 11,000 predictions for the 81 cases decided. Based on this data, FantasySCOTUS accurately predicted a majority of the cases and the top-ranked experts predicted over 75% of the cases correctly. FantasySCOTUS even has a Prediction Tracker to provide real-time predictions as to how the Supreme Court will decide.

Josh’s article is an absolute must-read for anyone who follows the Court closely and tries to figure out what “The Nine” will do.  While I myself haven’t had the time to participate in FantasySCOTUS, perhaps I should go there every now and again to be better able to answer (the very common) media questions of how cases turn out.

Harlan Institute’s Innovative Approach to Constitutional Education

With the Constitution – and its limits on government – playing such an outsized role in Tuesday’s elections and American political discourse generally, this would be a good time to mention a new program that teaches high school students about our founding document. 

My sometime co-author Josh Blackman, who is the founder of the Harlan Institute (a constitutional education non-profit for which, full disclosure, I serve on the board of directors) recently launched this year’s version of FantasySCOTUS.org, a Supreme Court fantasy league that was featured (along with Harlan) in yesterday’s Washington Post.  In FantasySCOTUS, students learn about and make predictions for pending Supreme Court cases, including recent headliners Snyder v. Phelps (the funeral protest case) and Schwarzenegger v. EMA (the violent video game case).  The project, among other Harlan Institute initiatives, is already being used by teachers in over 100 schools across the country, and is growing rapidly. 

Anyone interested in getting involved should consider participating in the Harlan Institute’s “virtual mentoring program.” On November 11, Harlan Institute will be holding the inaugural SCOTUS Skype-Teach-A-Thon:

As a complement to FantasySCOTUS.org, the Harlan Institute has trained a group of Mentors to to deliver virtual lectures to classrooms using Skype video chats.

If you are an attorney or law student interested in volunteering with us, please fill out this form. The time commitment would probably be about 1 hour on November 11. Our mentors consist of attorneys, law professors, and law students who are all committed to raising awareness of the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

For an entertaining and informative testimonial about Harlan and FantasySCOTUS, see this clip: