Remembering Richard Cordray: Nominee and Jeopardy Champion


This morning the Senate filibustered the nomination of Richard Cordray to be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s first director. Most people feel that the vote was motivated by objections to the new agency rather than objections to the man selected to head it — there’s no question that Cordray is an impressive guy. He was Attorney General of Ohio, a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review, and a clerk for Justice Kennedy. But if you ask me, his awesomest credential is “Jeopardy Champion.”

I’m not sure why I find this so fascinating, exactly, but when I heard about Cordray’s five-day run and two-game Tournament of Champions appearance, I was intrigued. When I discovered the amazing/frightening, I knew that I would be spending some weekend time analyzing Cordray’s Trebeckian track record. I asked the rest of Sunlight if they had any ideas and, well, things kind of snowballed from there. Ali turned the stats I generated into a beautiful infographic, and Nicko and Jeremy took the quiz code we used back in April to share some of the questions that Cordray faced. I’ll admit it: we might’ve gone a little overboard. In our defense, opportunities to combine both our government and trivia nerd tendencies don’t come along every day.

So! Please enjoy the following analysis of our ex-prospective CFPB director’s quiz-show career, and see how you stack up against his answers. Sorry: questions.

Richard Cordray's Jeopardy Performance

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And of course if anyone’s interested in fiddling with my code — now or in the future when, say, Ken Jennings is appointed to the Supreme Court — have at it.