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Anatomy of a Rumor: The Story Behind Chief Justice John Roberts’s ‘Retirement’ (GT prof. prank)
Abovethelaw.com ^ | 03/04/10 | David Lat

Posted on 03/04/2010 2:45:18 PM PST by OldDeckHand

Everyone is wondering: Where did that erroneous rumor of an imminent retirement by Chief Justice John Roberts come from? The gossip spread like wildfire, triggering thousands of texts, blog posts, and emails — a few hundred of them to the ATL tips line — before Radar, which first published the rumor, retracted its report.

We were skeptical, which is one reason why we didn’t write about the gossip as quickly as some other outlets. We reached out to the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office after we heard the rumor, and we didn’t want to write about it until we heard back from the PIO (or at least gave them a little time to respond).

Of course, we have many Supreme Court sources other than the official ones — and they reacted with extreme skepticism when we ran the Radar report by them. One of our SCOTUS experts actually laughed out loud after we (sheepishly) asked, “Have you heard anything about a possible Roberts retirement?” This source noted that JGR would sooner die — literally — than give Obama the chance to appoint his successor.

Like many a promising legal career, the Roberts resignation rumor traces its origins to a 1L class at Georgetown University Law Center….

Here’s an account of what went down in Professor Peter Tague’s criminal law class this morning, from a 1L at Georgetown Law:

(Excerpt) Read more at abovethelaw.com ...


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: georgetownu; georgetownuniversity; roberts; scotus; supreme; supremes
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An interesting accounting of what happened this morning.
1 posted on 03/04/2010 2:45:18 PM PST by OldDeckHand
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To: RummyChick

Ping to an addendum to the Robert’s story. I thought you might be interested.


2 posted on 03/04/2010 2:46:18 PM PST by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand

I’m just surprised Obama didn’t try to accept his resignation on the rumor.


3 posted on 03/04/2010 2:47:27 PM PST by DoughtyOne (If we as Republicans can't clean up our house, who can or will? Just say no to MeCain(D).)
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To: OldDeckHand

That professor needs to turn around and notice how many of his students spend the class with a text messaging device in their hands.


4 posted on 03/04/2010 2:51:34 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: OldDeckHand

Yet another reason why 1Ls shouldn’t have laptops in class.


5 posted on 03/04/2010 2:53:14 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: OldDeckHand

At least a couple of posters here on FR thought it was worth the risk of looking like completely gullible dolts in order to be the first to post BREAKING NEWS!!!!!


6 posted on 03/04/2010 2:54:10 PM PST by jiggyboy (Ten per cent of poll respondents are either lying or insane)
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To: OldDeckHand

Aside from the heart attacks caused across the country, this is actually amusing. It would have been more amusing if he picked one with a more liberal bent, however.


7 posted on 03/04/2010 2:54:28 PM PST by Ingtar (Reckon the process will be silly - Reckonsilliation)
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To: OldDeckHand

What a stupid, reckless thing for the professor to do. Of course, it’s possible that it wasn’t an accident...


8 posted on 03/04/2010 2:54:57 PM PST by livius
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To: OldDeckHand

There are more than a few Freepers who should be ashamed of themselves - mortified, really - over their behavior on the rumor thread this morning. Some of it was absolutely disgusting. This is not the DUmpster, and those Freepers need to remind themselves of that.


9 posted on 03/04/2010 2:55:23 PM PST by xjcsa (Ridiculing the ridiculous since the day I was born.)
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To: OldDeckHand

Just a Progressive’s wet dream....


10 posted on 03/04/2010 2:57:55 PM PST by expatpat
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To: OldDeckHand

The idiot who apparently started it:

http://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/facinfo/tab_faculty.cfm?Status=Faculty&ID=333


11 posted on 03/04/2010 2:58:13 PM PST by savedbygrace (You are only leading if people follow. Otherwise, you just wandered off.)
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To: livius

I disagree. I think the professor made his point about informants very well.

If I were him and found out which students alerted RadarOnline, I’d consider flunking that student or at least docking him some points on his grade. They obviously completely missed the point of the reading, and they aren’t supposed to be sending texts and emails in class anyway.


12 posted on 03/04/2010 2:59:32 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: savedbygrace; All

"I'll show you my pro bono if you show me yours"
13 posted on 03/04/2010 3:00:41 PM PST by Red in Blue PA (If guns cause crime, then all of mine are defective!)
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To: savedbygrace

Why is he an idiot? He isn’t the one who disseminated this rumor to the internet media.


14 posted on 03/04/2010 3:01:09 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: OldDeckHand

Drudge was too darn eager to publish this to his discredit.


15 posted on 03/04/2010 3:02:00 PM PST by Jean S
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To: OldDeckHand

Bump


16 posted on 03/04/2010 3:02:53 PM PST by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
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To: OldDeckHand
UPDATE: The Radar retraction begins as follows: “Despite considering resigning from the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts will stay on the bench, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned.”

Does Dan Rather work for the Radar now?
17 posted on 03/04/2010 3:03:08 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: OldDeckHand

Everyone is wondering: Where did that erroneous rumor of an imminent retirement by Chief Justice John Roberts come from?

___________________________________

Many FReepers believe Rahm was bored today. Decided to stir the pot.

I believe it.


18 posted on 03/04/2010 3:03:50 PM PST by Responsibility2nd
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To: OldDeckHand

Thank God it’s not true.

I almost wound up in the local Emergency Room!


19 posted on 03/04/2010 3:04:44 PM PST by july4thfreedomfoundation ("And when the Antichrist comes, millions will love him.")
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To: OldDeckHand

Stupid first-years.


20 posted on 03/04/2010 3:04:55 PM PST by AuH2ORepublican (If a politician won't protect innocent babies, what makes you think that he'll protect your rights?)
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To: The Pack Knight

Rumors like this are a puny price to pay for this wonderous blessing. Rapid communication, the din of small voices [as Drudge put it], is REAL HOPE for REAL CHANGE.


21 posted on 03/04/2010 3:06:05 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm. [Only leftist intellectuals publicly pick their noses.])
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To: The Pack Knight
"Does Dan Rather work for the Radar now? "

Doesn't that corrected RADAR headline read EXACTLY like a parody. It's hysterical, except for the fact that is the actual corrected headline.

22 posted on 03/04/2010 3:06:41 PM PST by OldDeckHand
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To: OldDeckHand

To which Dan Rather was seen running about, wearing only his bathrobe, and screaming, “Fake, but accurate! Fake, but accurate!”


23 posted on 03/04/2010 3:07:45 PM PST by TomGuy
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To: Jean S

So what? Big deal. It’s not like Drudge covered it up like the drive-bys. I know he doesn’t deserve the FR’s loyalty, but he’s a Godsend overall.


24 posted on 03/04/2010 3:08:08 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm. [Only leftist intellectuals publicly pick their noses.])
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To: jiggyboy

Give us a break after all, Drudge took it seriously.


25 posted on 03/04/2010 3:08:12 PM PST by traderrob6
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To: OldDeckHand

The professor was attempting to teach a lesson on rumors and reliable sources to his first year law class, i.e., just because you heard it from what you consider to be a reliable source doesn’t mean it is accurate, so check it out before you run with it.

Looks like he succeeded in spades! If they didn’t learn from this, they will never learn. Perhaps the professor learned his own lesson as well!


26 posted on 03/04/2010 3:09:06 PM PST by LucyJo (http://www.housetohouse.com/)
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To: OldDeckHand

I think he’s a good professor who’d like his students to think. He is, however, guilty of (1) underestimating the technology used by his students, and (2) overestimating his students’ ability to sort out facts.


27 posted on 03/04/2010 3:09:54 PM PST by paudio (Are you better off today than in 2006, when the Democrats took over the Congress?)
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To: AuH2ORepublican

God, I would have loved to be in that classroom at 9:30.


28 posted on 03/04/2010 3:11:08 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: All
In this age of rapid communication, mistakes will be made. The key is to learn how to moderate one’s response and learn from embarrassments. I'm learning too. Our communication networks are powerful things. Our words cause ripples. And a lack of words? Evil would triumph.

— FRegards ....

29 posted on 03/04/2010 3:11:09 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm. [Only leftist intellectuals publicly pick their noses.])
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To: The Pack Knight

He’s an idiot because he capitalized on his position of authority over the L1 idiots to get the rumor going.

It’s not a close call.


30 posted on 03/04/2010 3:11:30 PM PST by savedbygrace (You are only leading if people follow. Otherwise, you just wandered off.)
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To: OldDeckHand

I was sure he was going to elope with Justice Ginsburg and run off to a remote South Pacific island.


31 posted on 03/04/2010 3:12:35 PM PST by Random Access
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To: savedbygrace

He taught his 1Ls a lesson - evidently a desperately-needed one. That’s what teachers are supposed to do.


32 posted on 03/04/2010 3:13:55 PM PST by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: DoughtyOne

“I’m just surprised Obama didn’t try to accept his resignation on the rumor.”

No I don’t care who you are,...that’s funny!


33 posted on 03/04/2010 3:14:46 PM PST by chooseascreennamepat
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To: LucyJo

Thank you for the summary.
I’m putting this in the “Loony Left” thread:

Close Encounters with the Loony Left [link-list]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2464035/posts?page=2


34 posted on 03/04/2010 3:15:22 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm. [Only leftist intellectuals publicly pick their noses.])
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To: Red in Blue PA

Is that smoke coming from out of his nose? Sideways?

Perhaps he could learn how to stop smoking from nobama.


35 posted on 03/04/2010 3:15:35 PM PST by upchuck (nobama... the python prez, squeezing the very life out of everything he touches. h/t madamehusker1)
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To: P-Marlowe; blue-duncan; wmfights; Forest Keeper; OldDeckHand

Since this is not true and can not be rationally explained as a mistake, then one must wonder if this was not some kind of trial balloon.

1. A threat to the Chief Justice

2. Groundwork for the media to discuss the NATURE of this court and the need for Obama to pack it. Which would lead to —>

3. An attempt to refire the leftist base regarding Obama’s great value to them

4. If challenged in court, there are a number of constitutional weaknesses in the HealthCare Bill that would eventually work their way to SCOTUS. This could be the beginning of that battle.


36 posted on 03/04/2010 3:15:46 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: july4thfreedomfoundation

I loved the comment [not sourced - ; ) ] that Chief Justice Roberts would rather die, literally, than give Obama the opportunity of replacing him. LOL.

That’s my impression of the Chief Justice too, and I don’t know him personally, so I’m hoping that unsourced comment is accurate!


37 posted on 03/04/2010 3:15:48 PM PST by LucyJo (http://www.housetohouse.com/)
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To: nutmeg
More on the Roberts rumor ...still shuddering to imagine.

I particularly enjoyed this from the piece:

This source noted that JGR would sooner die — literally — than give Obama the chance to appoint his successor.

38 posted on 03/04/2010 3:18:07 PM PST by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat veteran)
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
The neglected fact here is the absolute HUGE and SERIOUS (spelled correctly) ramifications of this story had it been factual.

There is no single retirement, bar Obama himself, that would have the national repercussions of this story had it been true.

The soul of any great rumor is the magnitude of it's import, in that respect this was a gem. Blame only those that perpetuated it and not those that were initially concerned.

39 posted on 03/04/2010 3:18:12 PM PST by traderrob6
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To: OldDeckHand

Amazing how rumors can spread.

parsy


40 posted on 03/04/2010 3:19:57 PM PST by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
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To: OldDeckHand

Amazing how rumors can spread.

parsy


41 posted on 03/04/2010 3:19:57 PM PST by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March

Thanks for the link. I’ll enjoy reading that.


42 posted on 03/04/2010 3:19:58 PM PST by LucyJo (http://www.housetohouse.com/)
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To: nobody

The RadarOnline report was just the Chicago way of giving a warning.Obama will nominate a Chief Supreme Court Justice its just a matter of time and a death or two. Its the Chicago way!


43 posted on 03/04/2010 3:21:02 PM PST by Sporaticus
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To: LucyJo
"The professor was attempting to teach a lesson on rumors and reliable sources to his first year law class,"

Oddly enough, instead he's created a case study for journalism classes all across the country. He's also put himself on the "academic map", although probably not in the way he had envisioned.

44 posted on 03/04/2010 3:23:16 PM PST by OldDeckHand
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To: xsmommy

Is this another reason to dislike Gtown? As if we needed one.


45 posted on 03/04/2010 3:25:00 PM PST by secret garden (Why procrastinate when you can perendinate?)
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To: xzins

Even if it wasn’t planned as a trial balloon, it could certainly put that idea into the heads of those who think they might benefit from it.

It would be a mistake to not expect anything at all from the Left when it comes to control of power.


46 posted on 03/04/2010 3:26:59 PM PST by LucyJo (http://www.housetohouse.com/)
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To: jiggyboy

I posted it first after seeing it on Drudge and I have no problem with having posted it. People are then free to contact whatever sources they have or look online to see the story and how it developed.

It’s a wakeup call for the right..and shows just how precarious the situation is for America right now....and I am glad to hear Roberts would rather die in his seat than let Obambi nominate someone.

I am sure Scotus is not too amused at the antics of that professor.


47 posted on 03/04/2010 3:27:50 PM PST by RummyChick
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To: OldDeckHand

This was Orson Wellian for a while there


48 posted on 03/04/2010 3:27:50 PM PST by 12chachacha
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To: The Pack Knight

I call BS. Next time any of those L1s hear a juicy rumor, they’ll pass it on.


49 posted on 03/04/2010 3:28:27 PM PST by savedbygrace (You are only leading if people follow. Otherwise, you just wandered off.)
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To: The Pack Knight

And he asked his students not to tell anyone. I think his lesson today is one the students will not soon forget. Check your sources.


50 posted on 03/04/2010 3:28:42 PM PST by w1andsodidwe (How can you tell when the President is lying? When his lips move, of course.)
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