Supreme Court Chief Justice Admits He Doesn't Read Online EULAs Or Other 'Fine Print'

from the so-why-are-they-binding? dept

We just recently wrote about how circuit court judge Richard Posner had admitted to not reading the boilerplate legalese on his mortgage agreement, and wondered why such things were then considered binding. Taking it up a notch, now Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has admitted that he doesn't read the fine print on websites or medicines and that this "is a problem."
Answering a student question, Roberts admitted he doesn't usually read the computer jargon that is a condition of accessing websites, and gave another example of fine print: the literature that accompanies medications.... It has "the smallest type you can imagine and you unfold it like a map," he said. "It is a problem," he added, "because the legal system obviously is to blame for that." Providing too much information defeats the purpose of disclosure, since no one reads it, he said. "What the answer is," he said, "I don't know."
Well, that's comforting. Of course, I'm less interested in "the answer" to all that small type, and more interested in the answer to the question of how those things can be considered legally binding when even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court doesn't read them...

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  1. icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), 22 Oct 2010 @ 10:03am

    It's the laws...all of them

    I think anytime you enter into a contract it is your obligation to read it. Now, is it ridiculous to have to read a 30 page contract (EULA) to use free software for twenty minutes? Probably. But how do corporations protect themselves from people who can sue them for liability on a number of issues ranging from getting your account banned to causing conflicts on any myriad of electronic devices and configurations? Maybe the justice system gives too much consideration to silly lawsuits.

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