Wager of Justice: The Betting Commission and the 1984 Campaign


Much has been said, most of it indulgently, about William Rehnquist’s enthusiasm for small-scale, friendly wagering. On more than one occasion, for example, Chief Justice John Roberts has described the place of gambling in his predecessor’s life:

Although occasionally a stern figure on the bench, the Chief had a whimsical side. He was a great one for games . . . . He excelled at trivia contests and enjoyed small wagers on anything – athletic contests, presidential elections, the day of the first snowfall, and how much snow there would be.

Less has been said about the operational details of the gambling enterprises Rehnquist participated in. This article provides a quick look at one of them: the Betting Commission of which he was an active member during the 1984 election season.