My Op-Ed in The Roanoke Times about The Harlan Institute, FantasySCOTUS, and HARLANconnect

December 19th, 2010

I authored an opinion piece in the Sunday Roanoke Times on The Harlan Institute. The piece, titled Gaming the Supreme Court, introduces readers to, the fastest growing constitutional literacy program on the Internet.

Here is a snippet:

Building on the immense popularity of fantasy football and baseball, the Harlan Institute launched, the Internet’s first Supreme Court Fantasy League. The rules are simple: Try to predict how each of the nine justices will vote on all cases that come before the Supreme Court.

The league went viral and exploded in popularity, with more than a thousand members joining in the first 24 hours after the site launched. Today, nearly 6,000 members read the cases, learn about the justices’ voting histories and try to predict how the court will resolve cases. At the end of the term, the winner will be crowned the Chief Justice of FantasySCOTUS. While is a great success, this is only the start for the Harlan Institute.

With a focus on teaching tomorrow’s leaders about our Constitution, the Harlan Institute recently launched, a Supreme Court Fantasy League for high school students. More than 200 teachers and nearly 1,000 students nationwide are already playing FantasySCOTUS. FantasySCOTUS is currently the fastest growing constitutional literacy program on the Internet.

Our goal is to educate students about our Constitution through discussing current cases. Rather than reading about old cases in history books, students are intrigued to learn about the most pressing constitutional issues that are currently in the news.

Beyond FantasySCOTUS, the Harlan Institute has developed HARLANconnect, an innovative platform to help connect attorneys, law professors and law students with high school classes. Through the use of Skype video calls, classrooms can connect with attorneys anywhere in the world and learn more about the Constitution and the Supreme Court. This unique, one-of-a-kind mentoring program will revolutionize the way students learn about the Supreme Court. Further, HARLANconnect will provide an easy and meaningful way for attorneys to give back to their communities. Classes across the country have already been paired and have chatted with their virtual attorney mentors through HARLANconnect.

The more our society knows about the Supreme Court and our Constitution, the stronger our republic will be. Through programs like FantasySCOTUS and HARLANconnect, the Harlan Institute aims to help America reach that goal.