Congratulations to Justin Donoho, the Chief Justice of the inaugural season of FantasySCOTUS. Justin had the highest score, and beat out nearly 5,000 other members, including former Supreme Court clerks, appellate litigators, and numerous professors to obtain this coveted title. Justin’s golden gavel trophy is in the mail.
Justin recently finished a clerkship with the Honorable William J. Bauer on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Before clerking, he attended law school at the University of Chicago, where he served as a research assistant for Judge Richard A. Posner. Now Justin is an associate at Grippo & Elden in Chicago.
Recently, I recorded a JoshCast with Justin. I was most curious how he worked his magic. His answer? He started with the presumption that the Court would vote 9-0 reverse and worked from there. In many cases, involving controversial topics, he would look how Justices voted in like issues. In other cases, he “just went with his gut.” Interestingly, his predictions generally didn’t change following oral arguments, though he still read the transcripts closely.
Which case threw him the biggest loop? Justin said he initially predicted that Citizens United v. FEC would be 9-0 reverse. That “was pretty silly” he commented.
When I asked him how he predicted the votes of Justice Kennedy, Justin chuckled and said that if he had the answer to that question, “he could license that.”
Listen to the FantasyCast for the rest of the story.