We had an interesting Supreme Court term for 2016, with more than a few surprises. Our winners this term were a diverse group of lawyers and non-lawyers, each with their own unique take on FantasySCOTUS. In our exit survey, we spoke with some of the 2016 term winners to find out more about their prediction strategies, and what they like about FantasySCOTUS.
Our Grand Prize winner, Scott Button, is a practicing attorney who enjoys the mental challenge of predicting each Justice. His strategy has been to keep up to date on any news coming out of the Supreme Court. He reads oral argument transcripts in order to get a sense of Justices’ inclinations, but that’s not his only trick. Mr. Button also pays attention to the authorship of prior cases in a term. He also uses our scoring rules to hedge his predictions for maximum payoff. He has also leaned toward unanimous predictions which, in the 2016 term prior to Neil Gorsuch’s arrival, were considerably more common than wider splits.
Several of our Runners-up and Honorable Mentions spoke with us as well. Not all have formal legal training, but all of our top competitors have an interest in Constitutional Law and enjoy following the Supreme Court. As with Mr. Button, they pay particular attention to the oral argument phase of each case. Each individual Justice often reveals their point of view in their line of questioning (except the reticent Clarence Thomas). Studying a Justice’s past decisions always provides insight into how they will rule in the future.
One other notable takeaway that all participants enjoyed: the cash prizes! Now with Fastcase partnering with LexPredict, the next term of FantasySCOTUS is rolling into the 2017 term better than ever.