Beloved Balls & Strikes readers:
2022 has come to a close, 2023 is upon us, and as of this writing, Kevin McCarthy’s Captain Ahab-esque quest for the Speaker’s gavel is making an announcement of a hastily-greenlit Veep reboot feel more likely with each passing hour. This seems as good a time as any to reiterate my open invitation to you—yes, you, a smart and cool and dare I say good-looking Balls & Strikes reader—to write for Balls & Strikes this year, and to get paid in American dollars for doing it.
As bad as this past year was at the Supreme Court, things are only going to get worse from here. By the Fourth of July, the justices are likely to have ended affirmative action in college admissions, hollowed out another key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and exempted religious zealots from the burdens of compliance with antidiscrimination law, so long as said religious zealots remember to reframe their rank bigotry as artistic expression. Trump judges on the lower federal courts will continue to do all sorts of heinous shit, mindful of the Framers’ desire to prohibit Democratic politicians from doing any governing without some Federalist Society drone’s express written consent. And at the state level, fights over the futures of the highest courts in New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will play a significant role in determining which residents of those states get “rights” and which ones don’t.
There is, in short, A Lot Going On in the legal world, and we are looking for more people to help us write about it. You can read our full submissions guidelines here, but the short version is as follows: A good pitch consists of a working headline, along with 3-4 sentences about your idea—what it’s about, why it matters, and why you’re the right person to write it. (For context, about two-thirds of what we publish at B&S comes from freelance contributors who pitch stories just like this.) We typically pay $500 for essays of about 1,000 words, but enthusiastically welcome pitches for shorter blogs or longer features, too.
In terms of subject matter, we want smart, critical perspectives on the Court, the courts, and the myriad failures of the U.S. legal system. We don’t really care whether a given Supreme Court outcome is scrupulously faithful to a particular flavor of originalist jurisprudence; we care deeply about how a given outcome affects the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, all of whom are just supposed to accept whatever the justices say as objectively correct. We like compelling angles on stories that establishment legal media ignores (like this essay about a deep-cut Supreme Court case from last term), or gets wrong (like this review of Nina Totenberg’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad RBG book), or doesn’t even treat as a story in the first place (like this indictment of BigLaw pro bono programming). We also love writers who are funny and entertaining, because if we were interested in boring, unreadable legal punditry, we would simply read Noah Feldman’s Bloomberg columns more often.
You can send pitches anytime to [email protected]. Years from now, when your grandchildren ask what YOU did to prevent right-wing juristocrats from pulverizing representative democracy into a fine powder composed of equal parts inane legalese and pseudohistorical bullshit, you won’t have to tell them that you sat idly by. You can tell them that you did your part and then some, because YOU had the courage to blog it.