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League Rules

Here are the league rules for the October 2013 Season of FantasySCOTUS. If you have any questions, comments, or criticisms, see the Due Process section infra.

Predictions

For each case, users will predict how each of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court will vote. A Justice can either vote to AFFIRM, REVERSE the lower court, or RECUSE from the case and not cast a vote. Users can make predictions at any point before the case is decided, though predictions will be disabled on all days the Supreme Court announces that opinions will be released. Unlike in previous years, users will not predict the split and the outcome. These items were often too difficult to determine in split cases and pluralities. The current model is simpler, and allows users to more easily show off their SCOTUS skills.

Leagues

There will be two types of leaagues:

FantasySCOTUS Leagues – these Leagues will be created by FantasySCOTUS and anyone can join

  • Law School Leagues – All law students and professors who sign up will automatically be enrolled in the league for their law school.
  • The Elect League – This league is for the premier players. Users will be required to predict all cases that come before the Court and will be eligible for the Chief Justice, Senior Associate Justice, and Associate Justice Badges.
  • The Least Dangerous League – For users who do not have the time to predict all of the cases before the Court, you can join one of the least dangerous leagues category league, and only make predictions in one of the four broad (and nebulously defined) categories: Constitutional Law, Business Law, Criminal Law, and International Law. Users of the category leagues will be eligible for the category badges.
  • TWEN League – For law students who wish to receive bonus content and expert prediction tips from WestLaw.

User Created Leagues - Users can also create and join new leagues. We have integrated Facebook connect, so you will be able to invite all of your Facebook friends into your league. Users of these leagues will be eligible for the various league awards.

Users will be ranked within their leagues, as well as within the entire FantasySCOTUS realm.

Points

For each correct guess, users will receive 10 points. If a user correctly guesses the votes all nine Justices, he or she will receive a bonus 10 points, and a total score of 90 points.

For example, in Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Media Association, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that statute barring the sale of violent video games to children was unconstitutional. A user predict that Justices Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito will vote to reverse the Ninth Circuit, and that Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan will vote to affirm, or agree with the Ninth Circuit. Assume the user’s predictions are correct, except for Justice Kennedy, who in fact voted to affirm the lower court.

Roberts Scalia Kennedy Thomas Ginsburg Breyer Alito Sotomayor Kagan
Predicted Vote Reverse Reverse Reverse Reverse Affirm Affirm Reverse Affirm Affirm
Actual Vote Reverse Reverse Affirm Reverse Affirm Affirm Reverse Affirm Affirm
Points 10 10 0 10 10 10 10 10 10

In this case the user will receive a total of 80 points because you correctly predicted 8 out of the 9 Justices (you failed to correctly predict the vote of Justice Kennedy).

We realize that in some cases, a Justice votes to affirm in part and reverse in part. In such cases, it is often hard to characterize whether it is an “affirm” or “reverse” vote. The FantasySCOTUS team will make a judgment as to whether the affirm or reverse vote is on a more prominent part of the case (Consider this the FantasySCOTUS “Marks Rule”). We realize that standard is nebulous, but it is the only fair way to score cases. For protests, please see the due process section infra.

If a case is DIG’d (Dismissed as Improvidently Granted), predictions will receive no points. If a case is Vacated and Remanded, it will be treated as a DIG, and predictions will receive no points.

Badges

In addition to points, users can win badges for accomplishing certain goals within FantasySCOTUS.

The Elect Badges:

These badges are only available to players who participate in “The Elect” league, predict all cases, and score the most points.

  • The Chief Justice Badge – This is the most coveted award in FantasySCOTUS. This prize is awarded to the user with the highest total score. The winner of the Chief Justice Badge will receive the glorious golden gavel trophy, and all honors that accompany that esteemed prize.
  • The Senior Associate Justice Badge – This badge is awarded to the runner-up to the Chief Justice. If, for any reason, the Chief Justice cannot serve out his term, the Senior Associate Justice will serve in his or her stead (just like on the Supreme Court).
  • The Associate Justice Badges – This badge will be awarded for the users that finish in 3rd through 9th place.
  • The Circuit Judge Badge – This badge will be awarded for users that finish in 10th through 19th place.
  • The District Judge Badge – This badge will be awarded for users that finish in 20th through 29th place.
  • The Magistrate Judge Badge – This badge will be awarded for users that finish in 30th through 39th place.
  • The ALJ Badge – This badge will be awarded for users that finish in 40th through 50th place.

Category Badges:

These badges will be awarded to members of the Least Dangerous Leagues who most accurately predict the cases in each category:

  • The “Con Law” Badge
  • The “Criminal Law” Badge
  • The “Business Law” Badge
  • The “Others” Badge for all those cases that just don’t belong

The Justice Badges:

The Justice Badges reward users for correctly predicting the votes of an individual Justice with the highest accuracy.

  • The “Chief” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts. the votes of Chief Justice Roberts.
  • The “Nino” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts. the votes of Justice Scalia.
  • The “Transcendent Dimensions” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Kennedy.
  • The “Grandfather’s Son” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Thomas.
  • The “Neck Doily” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Ginsburg.
  • The “Active Liberty” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Breyer.
  • The “Jersey” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Alito.
  • The “Yankees” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Sotomayor.
  • The “Rookie” Badge- This badge is awarded to the user that most accurately predicts the votes of Justice Kagan.

Bonus Question Badges: If you correctly answer the bonus questions, you will receive badges

  • The “Platinum” Badge – This badge is awarded if a user correctly guesses 50 bonus questions.
  • The “Gold” Badge – This badge is awarded if a user correctly guesses 40 bonus questions.
  • The “Silver” Badge – This badge is awarded if a user correctly guesses 30 bonus questions.
  • The “Bronze” Badge – This badge is awarded if a user correctly guesses 20 bonus questions.
  • The “Parchment” Badge – This badge is awarded if a user correctly guesses 10 bonus questions.
  • The “Quill” Badge -This badge is awarded if a user correctly guesses 5 bonus questions.

The Participation Badges: These badges reward users who predict the most cases, and are named in honor of the Justices with the longest service on the Supreme Court

  • The “Justice Douglas” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 70 cases.
  • The “Justice Field” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 65 cases.
  • The “Justice Stevens” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 60 cases.
  • The “Chief Justice Marshall” Badge- This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 55 cases.
  • The “Justice Black” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 50 cases.
  • The “Justice Harlan” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 45 cases.
  • The “Justice Brennan” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 40 cases.
  • The “Chief Justice Rehnquist” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 35 cases.
  • The “Justice Story” Badge – This badge is awarded to users who predict at least 30 cases.

League Badges:

  • The “Chief Judge” Badge – This badge is awarded to the best league in all of FantasySCOTUS.
  • The “Confirmed” Badge – This badge is awarded to the top performing user in each league.
  • The “Borked” Badge – This badge is awarded to the user in each league with the fewest points (try not to get Borked).

No cash prizes are awarded. All prizes are purely for bragging rights.

Due Process

We realize that the players in this league are lawyers and law students, so let us explain the due process rights of users. If users disagree with the scoring of a case, an appeal must be filed at our contact page within 24 hours of the scoring update (which may be some period of time after the Supreme Court releases the opinion). We will reconsider all of our scoring opinions using a “clearly erroneous” standard of review. Additionally, if you have any objections to these rules, all protests must be filed at our contact page by October 15, 2013. Challenges to the rules will be reviewed with an “abuse of discretion” standard, so plead your cases well. All determinations are final.

Any changes made to questions, scoring, or anything else will be posted to the blog. This will serve as constructive notice.

In the past we had several incidents involving cheating.  While we have taken numerous steps this season to prevent any and all cheating, if we discover a user is cheating, he or she will be banished from FantasySCOTUS. Just play fair.