What do you all do?

Balls & Strikes publishes original commentary and reporting about courts, the judges who preside over them, and the legal system they uphold.

Ah, but I already read Noah Feldman’s Bloomberg columns.

Balls & Strikes’s coverage is a little different! It is premised on the reality that interpreting the law is an inherently political act with real-world consequences: Throughout American history, court decisions have fueled devastating economic inequality, hollowed out democracy, blessed all forms of state-sanctioned discrimination, and erected countless barriers to the cause of racial justice. For all its lofty rhetoric, the legal system is and has always been less concerned with protecting the rights of everyday people than it is with enabling wealthy and powerful interests to exploit them. 

Balls & Strikes seeks to hold courts, judges, and members of the legal profession accountable for their failures to fulfill their professed commitment to the cause of justice, and to facilitate some long-overdue conversations about how to make the legal system better, or at the very least, marginally less worse. To that end, in addition to its coverage of the Court and the courts, Balls & Strikes also publishes analysis of the judicial nomination and confirmation processes, the ongoing debate over reform proposals, and other stories at the intersection of law, policy, and politics. 

Why did you pick a name that makes you sound like a poorly-trafficked baseball blog?

Balls & Strikes borrows its name from now-Chief Justice John Roberts, who famously outlined his vision of judicial modesty by describing the proper role of a judge as “to call balls and strikes, and not to pitch or bat.” This metaphor omits key facts that every Little Leaguer knows: Umpires use different strike zones, apply them flexibly, and are entrusted with a tremendous amount of power and near-unlimited discretion in its exercise. Balls & Strikes’s coverage will highlight how the myth of judicial objectivity confers a sense of legitimacy upon unjust, undemocratic outcomes, which is precisely why so many powerful people work so hard to uphold it.

Who are you, exactly?

Jay Willis is the editor-in-chief of Balls & Strikes. The project is sponsored by Demand Justice, a nonprofit organization that works on court reform efforts, judicial nominations, and related issues. All opinions expressed on Balls & Strikes are solely those of the bylined author, and do not necessarily represent the views or reflect the specific advocacy goals of Demand Justice.

Do you do good tweets? Where can I find them?

Yes; @BallsStrikes. (Relatedly, if you are or know the person who is sitting on the @ballsandstrikes handle and hasn’t tweeted since entering a Valentine’s Day giveaway of a free dog obedience class in Georgia in 2020, please get in touch.)

Do you accept submissions? How can I pitch you?

Yes, please email us at [email protected]. We typically pay $500 for essays of about 1,000 words, a rate that can vary based on the amount of research and/or reporting the writing will entail.

Not sure what to pitch, or how to pitch? You can find detailed submissions guidelines here.

How can I get in touch with compliments about how good and correct the site is?

So glad you asked! For that and anything and everything else, [email protected].