On November 11, 2009, I launched FantasySCOTUS, with this announcement on my old WordPress blog:
JoshBlogs is proud to present FantasySCOTUS.net, the Premier Supreme Court Fantasy League.
I remember the fateful Wednesday well, because I launched the site shortly before I began the drive from Johnstown, Pennsylvania for the 2009 Federalist Society Lawyers Convention. By the time I arrived in Washington, D.C., the site had gone completely viral. Within 48 hours, more than one thousand people had registered. This was, from my perspective, an early indication that my path forward would be different.
Soon, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog interviewed me in what, I think, was my first popular media appearance. Though my answers have become more polished, my tone is, well, about the same:
Blackman, currently clerking in the Western District of Pennsylvania, says he thought of the idea in September, shortly after the Citizens United arguments. Says Blackman: “I thought, ‘what if Vegas handicapped this case? What would the odds be?’ I took the thought and ran with it.”
Blackman says his the fees will largely go to cover his costs, and that the point is not to make money. “That’s not at all why I’m doing it,” he says. “I think it’s just cool and gives some variety to my life.”
And what’s the prize? It’s not going to be cash. “I don’t think lawyers would be incentivized by cash. It’s going to be something else, like a golden gavel, maybe one of those Supreme Court bobbleheads.”
Indeed, the prize for the first few years was a “golden gavel,” though not made of gold.