February 14, 2013
Sunday February 3, 2013, marked the end of the NFL football season. However, for millions of fans — approximately 24.3 million of them according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association — the “real” football season probably ended at some point in December when a fantasy football league champion was crowned, leaving these football fans a long wait for fall. Other than studying, what is a fantasy-football playing law student (or non-fantasy-football playing law student) to do until fall?
Here’s an idea: play FantasySCOTUS! That’s right; use your knowledge of the law and WestlawNext to play in a fantasy Supreme Court league. You might even win Westlaw Rewards Points or a Visa gift card.
Two law student fantasy Supreme Court competitions are being sponsored this winter: a school level individual competition and a national team competition. All you have to do is sign up — it’s never too late to sign up! — and make your predictions. See the contest rules for more information.
At this point you may be asking yourself a very important question: “Do I just blindly guess how the Supreme Court will rule?” You can. But, if you do a little bit of research, you will give yourself a better chance of making accurate predictions.
Here are a few WestlawNext research tips to help you best make your predictions:
- Use the links provided — Links to briefs, petitions, and other documents on WestlawNext may be listed on the predictions page. These links will provide a good starting point for researching the cases and issues before the court.
- Case History — It’s helpful to understand a case’s journey to the Supreme Court. Try running a search for the case title through a broad database such as All State & Federal to find lower court opinions. For instance, on February 9 the court heard arguments for the case of Missouri v. McNeely. Try a search such as: ti(missouri & mcneely)
Or, once you’re in a case-related document such as a petition or lower court opinion use the “History” tab or Graphical KeyCite.
- How have the justices ruled on the issues presented in the past? — How a justice has ruled on an issue in the past may provide an indication as to how the justice may rule in the future. Try a narrow search by using the judge field restrictor. For instance: ju(thomas) & [issue]
For predictions on four upcoming decisions and more tips, please read Prof. Josh Blackman’s blog – he’s the creator of FantasySCOTUS!