MacLean said he is now a door-to-door salesman in California, hawking solar power and water-purification systems. Not surprisingly, he is deeply interested in the court and reads everything about his case.That does not always give him comfort.

He said he recently read a Washington Post story about Supreme Court enthusiasts on the Internet and discovered FantasySCOTUS, a site where people predict the outcome of cases.

“All of these law students are picking me to lose 9 to 0,” he said.