In this week’s 10th Justice, we consider how predictions for cases are spread out over time, both before and after oral arguments, and how the statistics for the sets differ throughout the lifecycle of a case.
In this context, we will discuss three different cases: Bilski v. Kappos, Alabama v. North Carolina, and McDonald v. City of Chicago. Although these cases have slightly different characteristics, timing in the term, and total number of predictions, the three cases serve as examples of different interest level strata.
For our purposes, Bilski represents a specialized interest, Alabama represents a highly technical interest, and McDonald represents a general interest case. The lifecycle of each case has been divided into four quarters. To calculate the quarters, the total number of predictions for each case was divided by four. The predictions were evenly divided into four quarters, with varying dates. These quarters will show how predictions differ varying points from the granting of cert to the decision date.
Bilski is a patent law case which addresses whether or not the “machine-or-transform” test is the proper test for patents. Because of its importance to scientific and industrial concerns, this case could be considered specialized, but still accessible to individuals outside of legal practice. Because the case was argued before FantasySCOTUS went online, pre-oral argument data is not available, and the 1st and 2nd quarters are heavily weighted toward November and December. In addition to having a wider date range, the later quarters also introduce more uncertainty into the predictions. The 4th quarter proportion is marked in blue because it is only significant at a 90% level. One explanation is that the delay in rendering a decision causes user to be leery of a certain outcome due to justice disagreements or resolution of difficult problems. Overall, the case is still strongly predicted to be an affirmation.
Predictions for Alabama v. North Carolina, and McDonald v. Chicago at JoshBlackman.com.