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How to Cash In at Vegas with Your Supreme Court Predictions

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on November 21, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are you in the business of Supreme Court predictions? Do you want to be? It could be a quick (albeit possibly illegal) way to make some cash.

You see, it turns out that our almighty brethren are a predictable bunch. They may play nice when off the bench, but when it comes to voting, they often stick to party lines.

But you see, even that may be irrelevant. There's a spiffy new algorithm out, and it has an 83% overall accuracy rate.

Want to make a bet?

Even if you don't, think about how easy Supreme Court predications may have just become.

For the first time since the age of bipartisanship passed, the ideological leanings of each Supreme Court justice matches that of the president who appointed them. In 2/3 of all 5-4 and 5-3 decisions last year, the justices voted with their party.

Even swing voter Justice Kennedy, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, agreed with the conservatives more often than not.

Though a tempting way to predict Supreme Court outcomes, Spanish researchers have found a more reliable way. They ditched the politics (and the law) and instead focused on the other justices' votes and the court's record.

They came up with an algorithm that correctly predicts 5-4 decisions 77% of the time. It's a bit below the 83% overall accuracy rate, but it's well above the 66% suggested by party affiliation.

For the intrigued amongst you, you might want to hire a math geek and wait for a Republican presidency before you start making Supreme Court predictions. The math is all kinds of complicated, and predictability is lower when a Democrat is in office.

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