Here’s our next FantasySCOTUS team profile, that Swedish-mus musculis powerhouse “outsider.”


PREDICTOR: “I’m a Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University – Central Texas with an interest but little real training in Constitutional Law. My main area of research is military interventions in civil wars (all of them since 1816); I’ll have a book on civil wars from 1816-2013 coming out next year, with articles to follow.”

WHY PARTICIPATE IN FANTASY SCOTUS: “I first participated to see how well political science models of judicial decision-making applied to new SCOTUS cases. Now I participate because I did well the first couple of times and I’m a competitive person. I like the idea of being able to outsmart the lawyers and law students in their own field.”

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TEAM NAME “ABBAMOUSE”? ARE YOU INTO ABBA OR MICE OR BOTH??? “It’s never taken by anyone. It combines my love of the Swedish supergroup ABBA with my ‘totem,’ the humble (nocturnal, messy, and so forth) mouse.”

WHAT’S YOUR APPROACH TO MAKING PREDICTIONS?: “I take a preference-based approach, in which I assume that Justices simply vote their preferences. The liberal-conservative dimension is the most significant, but many other issues create predictable and stable coalitions on the court. Where preference information is unknown from Justices’ votes in previous cases, I estimate it using the oral arguments. The hardest cases are statutory interpretation ones, but even in these, previous voting records and ideology are reasonably accurate.”

POWER MOVE: “One of the biggest things to consider is whether a Justice is playing devil’s advocate with a given comment. I can’t believe I fell for Justice Kennedy’s fake-out in Williams v. Illinois, for example.”

BEST RECOMMENDED SOURCE: “SCOTUSBlog. Great case pages and a really good knack for getting down to what the essence of a case is.”


ASSESSMENT OF THIS TERM’S CALENDAR: “This is an excellent batch of cases, crossing over into many areas of law and many potential coalitions. Finally, we don’t have Kagan recusing herself in every other case, which was a pain to keep track of in previous years.”

Do you have a team in this year’s FantasySCOTUS? Submit a team profile including some information about your team to

Previous profile: Merlach

See all previous FantasySCOTUS posts here.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share