October is nearly upon us, which means it is time for three of the most excruciating cultural traditions America has to offer: apple-picking, the New York Jets playing football, and the Supreme Court embarking on yet another term of turning your cherished civil rights into Alliance Defending Freedom-flavored dust.
I will have more to say next week about the term and its looming attendant horrors, and my colleague Madiba Dennie is already doing the Lord’s work previewing some of the biggest cases on the docket. Right now, however, I want to remind readers that if you, too, are a person who cares about the Court, and what the Court is doing, and how the Court’s exercises of political power affect the millions of people who are not wealthy federal judges with life tenure and no accountability, we at Balls & Strikes will pay you to write about it.
We of course welcome pitches about the day-to-day stuff the justices are doing: cases they’re hearing, petitions they’re granting, opinions they’re writing, kajillionaire Republican donors with whom they’re spending long weekends at Weird Semi-Nude Rich Guy Camp in the Northern California redwoods, and so on. That said, we also really like pitches that might slip through the cracks at other outlets: stories about cases the Court turns away, for example, and about the well-funded outside forces that shape the Court’s agenda, and about the American legal system’s egregious failure to come anywhere close to delivering on its promise of Equal Justice Under Law. The trees are important, yes, but we want to see the forest (the forest where Clarence Thomas is chopping it up with the Koch brothers), too.
Finally, Balls & Strikes is also fond of pitches that take on the depraved culture of hero worship that the legal profession cultivates and defends at all costs. These can be serious—for example, stories about self-proclaimed liberal standard-bearer Neal Katyal charging $2,465 per hour to protect Johnson & Johnson from facing liability for its carcinogenic talcum powder. They can also be a little more lighthearted, though. If you are the sort of person who learns about Neal Katyal donning a propeller beanie for a six-mile overnight hike out of a washed-out Burning Man and thinks, “That’s funny as hell,” you (1) are right and (2) should get in touch.
It was an incredibly harrowing 6 mile hike at midnight through heavy and slippery mud, but I got safely out of Burning Man. Never been before and it was fantastic (with brilliant art and fabulous music)…except the ending. pic.twitter.com/jhxsOfNp5y
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) September 3, 2023
You can read our full submissions guidelines here, but the most important details are as follows: You can send pitches to [email protected], and we typically pay $500 for essays of 1000 words, give or take. And if you don’t have experience writing this sort of thing, that’s fine! Remember, if Jonathan Turley can get steady work in legal media, so can you.