Backstory

Behind the John Roberts Resignation Rumor

The Internet was abuzz Thursday morning with rumors that Chief Justice John Roberts would resign for personal reasons—a report that was later proven to be false. Where did it originate? Above the Law says it started in Professor Peter Tague’s criminal-law class at Georgetown University Law Center. Apparently, Tague taught a lesson today on what one student calls “the validity of informants not explaining their sources.” He started the 9 a.m. class by telling his students that, they couldn’t tell anyone, but he had heard from unnamed sources that Roberts would be stepping down. At 9:30, he told them he was joking, but by that point the rumor had already taken off online, notably on RadarOnline.com, which published its first report at 9:10 a.m. EST.