Brian Eller, a recent UC Davis Law School graduate, describes FantasySCOTUS.net
as a kind of football pool for legal nerds. To excel in this online game, which bets on the outcome of U.S. Supreme Court cases, you need to spend a lot of hours reading briefs and transcripts, and try to get inside the minds of the justices.
"It fits my passion," says Eller, now a patent attorney, who plays FantasySCOTUS with three other UC Davis alumni.
Launched three years ago, the site is enjoying a surge of interest in the wake of oral arguments on the supercharged topic of the national health care legislation.
It costs nothing to join, and there are no cash prizes. Instead, the top scorer gets a "golden gavel" trophy. Attorneys who participate in research connected with the site may join a drawing with the prize of a $200 gift card for Amazon.
In the site's years of operation, East Coast lawyers have far outnumbered Californians. Sixty-nine eastern law schools preceded the first California school, UC Berkeley, in participating. Eller had been one of the most successful predictors from California (he now resides in North Carolina). Weighing in on the contentious health care issue before the Court, he initially said that it would uphold the mandate but has recently been thinking about changing his vote. "The more you get interrupted, the higher the chance that they'll vote against you," he says. "And I noticed the solicitor general got interrupted a lot."