Working Paper No. 10-07:
Supreme Court Sluggers: Behind the Numbers

Author(s):

Ross Davies, Craig D. Rust

Date Posted: January 2010

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Abstract:

Issued last fall, the Chief Justice John G. Roberts “Supreme Court Sluggers” trading card pictured on page 213 above is the first in what should be a very long series of “Sluggers” cards. The first Associate Justice card – of John Paul Stevens – will be out this spring. Others, of the sitting Justices and of their predecessors, will follow in the coming months and years. The Green Bag’s ambitions for this project are simple, if not small: (a) to develop and share comparable measurements of the work of every member of the Supreme Court since 1789; (b) to gradually expand and refine those measurements with an eye to making them as useful and interesting as possible; (c) to create informative, entertaining, and unorthodox yet respectful portraits of the Justices by first-rate artists; and (d) to present all of this material in a way that will be enjoyable for the producers, consumers, and subjects of the “Sluggers” cards. As an introduction to the “Sluggers” project, we offer here short descriptions of what went into the development of the front and back of the Chief Justice Roberts card. The front is a work of art that makes light-hearted connections between its subject and the game of baseball. The back is packed with statistics and sprinkled with quotations drawn from the subject’s judicial work.