by Ryan Adler
Ryan Adler is a Superforecaster and Senior Consultant for Good Judgment who specializes in legal analysis for Good Judgment’s question writing team. He also administers the SCOTUS Challenge on Good Judgment Open, a collaboration between SCOTUSblog and Good Judgment that facilitates probabilistic thinking about court decisions. Ryan can be reached at email@example.com.
True to this term’s dispensationalist form, Monday saw another SCOTUS Challenge question close. This morning, the Court handed down its decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, finding Ohio’s process to remove names from voting registration rolls on change-of-residence grounds does not violate the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). While the decision was a close 5-4, Justice Alito’s majority opinion was fully joined by the five, and Justice Breyer’s dissent was joined fully by the remaining four. Justice Thomas’ concurrence was a brief summation of his thoughts on Congress’ authority to set voting qualifications, while Justice Sotomayor’s separate dissent made it clear that she was not happy with the outcome of the case. (Inquiries into whether Justice Gorsuch ran out of ink and thus did not chime in were not answered.)
So how did the crowd do here? Aside from a spike immediately after the launch of the question, the crowd climbed up to 65% between November and mid-May, and held that forecast until this morning’s decision. With oral arguments held on January 10, I suspect that the climb was due in large part to the fact that more than a third (103 out of 275) of the forecasters who participated first made a prediction after that date. Moreover, nearly half of all forecasts (48.4%) were made after the date of oral arguments.
This case brings us to five down and eight to go for this term’s challenge, with the crowd batting .800 going into the home stretch. The miss was in US v. Microsoft, which was vacated and remanded for dismissal in the wake of the passage of the CLOUD Act in a spending bill last March. While we at GJ were careful to plan for such a contingency while drafting the question and its resolution criteria, the crowd didn’t move quickly enough to bring down its forecast even after the outcome was effectively clear. Take that for what it’s worth.
If we’re lucky, we won’t have to wait for next Monday for the next question or questions to close, as the Court is expected to release an opinion or opinions this Thursday the 14th. Flag Day, what shall you bring!?!