John Roberts Is Not Leaving The Supreme Court

That’s not really news, except that a few weeks ago, there was a rumor circulating online that he was stepping down. Here’s an LA Times article that describes what happened. In brief, it appears that on March 4, a Georgetown Law professor announced to his class that Roberts was stepping down. By that afternoon, an online service called RadarOnline was reporting it as a fact. NBC anchor Brian Williams got a message about it on his Blackberry as he was arriving by train in Washington D.C. Fortunately for Williams, before he got in front of a camera, he learned that the story was not true. Editors at a blog site called AbovetheLaw contacted the Supreme Court’s public information office, which vigorously denied the story. So, what happened? Apparently the Georgetown Law professor wanted to illustrate to his students how important it is to challenge even seemingly credible sources. Um, mission accomplished. The professor told his students midway through class that he was making it up, but that was, evidently, too late. What’s kind of funny is that RadarOnline did back off the story when it learned the facts, but not completely. Its “correction” stated: “[d]espite considering resigning from the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts will stay on the bench.” Of course, assuming the piece resulted from the Georgetown experiment, the correction is as inaccurate as the original post. Mark Twain once said something to the effect that a lie is halfway across the world before the truth can get its pants on. With the Internet it seems like the lie can get completely across the world, return home, and have a cup of coffee before the truth is even awake. And thanks to my friend David Wells for bringing this one to my attention.