Oyez Baseball

From Justia and the Oyez Project

Oyez Baseball is an online interactive game by two prominent legal organizations — Justia and the Oyez Project — that draws connections between "America's Favorite Sport" and the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.  As such, it is "part of a larger effort to bring the work of the nation's highest court — in text, audio and images — to the widest possible audience."  

As the website notes:  "On the Supreme Court, greatness or mediocrity derives from a justice's accomplishments or lack thereof. The same is true for ballplayers. The Court vests its nine occupants with awesome responsibility. Some justices, like some players, are blessed with skills that not only generate tremendous personal achievements, but can transform their institutions, and sometimes even American culture. Others are quickly forgettable, while most toil somewhere in between. The qualities that make some justices great and others mediocre are difficult to explain fully and justify to those unversed in the Court's work. But most everyone understands baseball-and baseball may be the best way to reveal greatness or mediocrity. Hence, Oyez® Baseball."

A version of this game, "The Law-Baseball Quiz," debuted in the New York Times on April 4, 1979. 


How do you use it?

This is an interactive game that asks its users to make analogies between specific ballplayers and specific Supreme Court justices, as a way of making larger points about the role of individual justices and the judicial "team" of the Supreme Court.  The game would likely be best used in an environment of sports enthusiasts — say high school or college athletes — where even if all the players and justices were not familiar, the background and context of the game and the court were generally well known.  

It goes without saying that the judge or other presenter should be very familiar with the game of baseball.

This is really a game for a specialized audience made of up individuals who know the game of baseball — and its players — and the Supreme Court very well.    

An alternative way to present similar material that familiarizes students with Supreme Court Justices would be to use PBS's match game:  Court Concentration.

Who is the audience?

The specificity of the resource makes it appropriate for sports fans in high school or college, and perhaps a special kind of general audience.

What other resources will complement this?

  1. Appellate Courts: Let's Take It Up  Lesson Plan from iCivics (P, M, H) 
  2. Court Quest  Game from Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics and iCivics (M, H, A)
  3. Courts in the Classroom  Videos from the Judicial Council of California and the Administrative Office (P, M H)
  4. Federal Courts & What They Do  Document from the Federal Judicial Center (H, A)
  5. Interactive Diagram of the Federal Court System — Interactive document from Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (M, H, A)
  6. Supreme Decision  Game from iCivics (M, H) 
  7. What the Federal Courts Do  Website/slideshow from the Federal Judicial Center (M, H, A)
And on Bankruptcy:
  1. What is a Bankruptcy Case?
  2. How Bankruptcy Cases Move through Federal Courts 
  3. How Bankruptcy Cases Move Through Federal Courts — Quiz #6

Additional Recommended Resources Off-Site Links
  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.