FiveThirtyEight Priors and Precedent Feature: FantasySCOTUS Predictions for EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch

February 27th, 2015

The very-cool FiveThirtyEight will be using FantasySCOTUS predictions for pending cases. The first feature by Oliver Roeder looks at EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch.

Here I’ll turn to two sources: the {Marshall}+ algorithm — a computer program designed specifically to predict court cases — and the wisdom of the crowd at FantasySCOTUS — fantasy baseball’s even nerdier little brother. This is how likely those predictors view a Supreme Court reversal vote from each justice — a reversal would be a win for the EEOC and Elauf.

The predictions are all over the place, and most are made with little confidence — the likelihood of many justices voting to reverse the 10th Circuit decision hovers near the middle.


The computer algorithm foresees a 7-2 reversal, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting. The crowd predicts the opposite — a 9-0 affirm as of Tuesday morning, but with a few justices more or less on the fence. And not everyone in the crowd agrees. “As it stands now, some of our best players are across the map on this case,” Josh Blackman, FantasySCOTUS’s creator, told me.

The crowd predictions may well improve. Some predictors will pore over the oral argument transcript looking for clues in the justices’ questions. But there’s only one way to find out what’ll happen for sure — wait. The court will likely issue its decision in this case in June.