Chief Justice John Roberts staying on the job

Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

John Roberts is probably shaking his head right about now. Appointed to the Chief Justice position in 2005 by president George W. Bush, a rumor started today that this dedicated conservative judge was going to step down in less time than it takes to get a personal loan. Radar Online first published the story about Chief Justice John Roberts stepping down, and it was quickly picked up around the world. The rumor, however, turned out to be just a rumor and nothing more.

John Roberts rumor started by a law professor, an online magazine dedicated to law-related topics, lays out the entire story. Apparently a law professor at Georgetown started his class with the announcement that he had heard from an “unnamed source” that John Roberts would be stepping down later that day. Later on in the hour, he let the class in on the secret that John Roberts would NOT be stepping down. The professor was trying to make a point that even sources that are generally considered as reliable cannot always be trusted. Little did he know.

Chief Justice news exploded

Twenty years ago, a classroom object lesson like this about the Chief Justice of the supreme court wouldn’t have gone any further than the classroom itself. However, law students now use laptops to take notes, and are constantly connected. Almost as soon as the words came out of professor Peter Tague’s mouth, the rumor mill had already started churning – and kept churning. The news spread far and wide faster than no fax cash advances are deposited into your bank account. Even a retraction by the original source doesn’t mean the rumor will be quiet for any amount of time.

Does John Roberts really have health problems?

Professor Tague claimed that Chief Justice John Roberts would be stepping down from the Supreme Court because of “health concerns.” While most Supreme Court watchers would laugh out loud at the very thought that John Roberts would allow a Democratic president to appoint his successor. However, part of the reason the rumor was able to take off so quickly is that John Roberts has had health concerns in the past. According to Wikipedia John Roberts did suffer a seizure on July 30, 2007. This fairly recent history of a health concern is most likely what helped the rumor gain traction so quickly.