How False Supreme Court Retirement Rumor Swept The Net


Here’s how an erroneous story can spread instantly in this age of text messaging. Yesterday, the Web site reported that U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts was about to announce his retirement for health reasons. The Web site later retracted the report. Another Web site, Abovethe, traces the story to Georgetown University law school, where Prof. Peter Tague told a class about Roberts, but a half hour later said he had made up the story to show how someone you ordinarily think is credible and reliable can disseminate inaccurate information.

A student told Above the Law that when Tague made his statement, “plenty of students texted and IM'ed their friends and family [] [So] there's a very good chance that the Roberts rumor that spread like wildfire on the internet was sparked by an eccentric law professor trying to make a point.” Above the Law said the Radar retraction said, “Despite considering resigning from the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts will stay on the bench, has exclusively learned.”

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