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Sam Heldman


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Friday, October 18, 2002

As Sam Heldman points out, his Supreme Court prediction game now has a host of imitators: There is the Supreme Court Forecasting Project, which claims that it will compare the predicitons of legal "experts," and a statistical "political science" model. Looking over their predictions, at least two out of the three experts agree with my prediction on nearly every case. Of course, NONE of their experts predicted that the Ford case would be REVERSED (like I did). The only problem with this site is that they haven't posted any of their "statistical" predictions and we are already through the first two weeks of the term, and they have failed to post some "expert" predictions on cases that have already been argued.

Next there is the Fantasy Supreme Court League, in which there is a cash prize for the best predictor of nine cases. The contest gives a one-paragraph description of the case then invites you to vote thumbs up or thumbs down. It's like the barside video game school of Supreme Court predictions. The "tie breaker" is which Justice voted with the majority in the most cases. Here's a prediction: If you choose anyone other than O'Connor or Kennedy as your tie breaker, you haven't been paying attention. The contest claims to have been featured on CNN's Headline News. How does that happen?

In any case, I think Sam Heldman's contest is still the best game for thinking people. The Forecasting Project can't seem to get its ducks in a row, and the Fantasy Supreme Court League is too silly to take seriously.