The 2019-20 Fantasy League Season Preview

During the Fantasy League’s winter meeting this past week, a single question predominated at sessions chaired by the league’s Competition Committee: What can be done to challenge the Gavels of the State Public Defender’s Office? League champions ever since the inaugural 2015-16 season, the Gavels have shrugged off every effort by the Competition Committee to provide them with more formidable opposition. Consequently, for 2019-20, the league has allowed—in fact, required—each of the Gavels’ four rivals to add another law firm to their rosters.

Commentators have been impressed by the alacrity with which the four teams—the Affirmed, the Citations, the Waivers, and the Writs—jumped at this opportunity, suggesting that their combative spirit has not been crushed by four years as also-rans. Indeed, the wooing of new firms soon escalated to a frenzy, with Husch Blackwell the most coveted prize. Having delivered four oral arguments in cases decided during the 2018-19 term, Husch Blackwell would have made any team an instant contender that season, and thus Husch received lavish offers from all four suitors. In the end, the Waivers were the most seductive, and the addition of Husch Blackwell to their lineup accounts for the enthusiasm with which their fans are greeting the onset of the 2019-20 season.

Of course, a firm’s performance in one season is not always a reliable predictor of success the following year—as the Writs are doubtless aware with regard to the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty (WILL). While playing for the Affirmed in 2017-18, WILL amassed 22 points, a dazzling total that persuaded the Writs to surrender two law firms in order to acquire WILL for 2018-19. That year, though, WILL’s contribution fell to 10 points—still respectable for some firms, but not what the Writs had anticipated for the price that they paid. However, should 2018-19 prove to have been an aberration, and WILL returns to its 2017-18 form, the Writs may yet emerge as the Gavels’ most intimidating competitor.

As in the past, scoring summaries will be posted here weekly, beginning in January. Meanwhile, fans can click on the appropriate link to view team rosters updated with the new law firms signed during the offseason.

About Alan Ball

Alan Ball is a Professor of History at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.

SCOWstats offers numerical analysis of the voting by Wisconsin Supreme Court justices on diverse issues over the past 93 years.

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