On the March 12 edition of the popular daytime game show Jeopardy!, Sam Sloan, a name familiar in third party politics, was mentioned in a $1,200 clue under the category “Defending Themselves in Court.” Sloan is known for being a former officer of the Manhattan Libertarian Party and perennial candidate for pubic office including Governor of New York and President; however, he is also a taxi driver, publisher, renowned tournament-level Chess player, former board member of the U.S. Chess federation, former stock broker, and frequent litigant. He was identified on Jeopardy! as the last non-lawyer to argue a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Untrained in law, in SEC v. Samuel H. Sloan, 436 U.S. 103 (1978), Sloan successfully argued pro se that the policy of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to tack 10 day summary extension suspensions indefinitely for penny stocks, which made up the bulk of Sloan’s over-the-counter stocks and bonds company, was an abuse of power and violation of due process. In an opinion by Justice William Rehnquist, the Court agreed with Sloan’s argument. Since then, no other non-lawyer has argued before the Court. It prohibited this practice in 2013, making Sloan the last person ever to do so; unless a later Court changes the rule.
Sloan ran for governor of New York in 2010, losing the Libertarian nomination to IPR owner Warren Redlich by a vote of 27 to 17. He ran for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2012, received two write-in delegates at the convention, and lost the nomination to Gary Johnson. He ran for mayor of New York City as an Independent in 2013, receiving 166 votes. He ran for president as a Democrat in 2016 and 2020, appearing both times on the New Hampshire primary ballot and participating in the lesser-known candidate debate.
If you know the correct response to the Jeopardy! clue, please comment below. On the show, none of the three contestants ringed in with a response.