to receive 30 min advance notice before opinions issued to curb cheating

April 1st, 2010

We have a problem with cheating at

When designing the system, I decided to allow people to make predictions up until the moment a case is decided by the Supreme Court. On days when opinions are handed down, I lock down the voting once I see that the Court has issued an opinion for a specific case. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced Maryland v. Shatzer at 10:00 a.m. I did not lock down the votes until around 11:30 a.m. In this period, several members changed their votes to get more points.

A more thorough investigation revealed numerous cheaters in our midst.

When I mentioned this unfortunate fact to friends at the Supreme Court, they clued me into a little known SCOTUS secret.  Certain reporters, news agencies, and blogs, receive 30 minute advance notice before opinions are issued. While the Court does not release the holding of the opinion, the Clerk of the Court sends a brief e-mail, listing the opinions that will be issued.

At first I was incredulous, and didn’t believe this was possible. But at some point during the Rehnquist Court, Nina Totenberg, the doyenne of One First Street, used her enormous clout to push for this privilege. She was tired of hiking to the Court on days when lousy opinions were issued. Once she asked for it, the Court could not say no. Apparently, Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog has been receiving these tips for years. No wonder he is always able to get post such thorough summaries so quickly.

Like any cert grant, in order to qualify for this special privilege, the Rule of 4 applies.  Justice Sotomayor came through, and joined the Chief Justice, Justice Alito, and Justice Thomas. Apparently the Junior Justice is a serious Fantasy Sports fan, and fell in love with the league, and was appalled that people would cheat. Sadly, Justice Scalia decided to recuse, due to some of my recent publications criticizing his views in McDonald.

Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Stevens and Justice  Ginsburg, dissented from the issuance of our petition. He does not seem to be a fan of In a verbose opinion, he wrote that while liberty must be active, fantasy court leagues must be passive, and we were not worthy of this privilege. Paraphrasing Chief Justice Roberts famous admonition from Parents Involved, Justice Breyer wrote “the way to end lame fantasy sports leagues is to end lame fantasy sports leagues.”


Update at 9:37 P.M., April 1, 2010, commonly known as April Fools Day: This post was a joke. Too many people thought it was true. Epic Fail!