Prohibitions on Commercial Fortune-Telling
Prof. Steven D. Jamar
sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Thu Nov 2 14:35:57 PST 2000
"DAVID E. BERNSTEIN" wrote:
> What if someone sued the psychic friends network or a similar group for
> fraud on the grounds that they claimed to be able to predict the future
> but could not? Would such a common law action by barred by the
> constitution? A judgment against the fortune tellers would not be a
> holding that fortune-telling has been determined to be impossible, but
> that these particular people claimed to do something they could not do.
Scary (it is around Halloween, isn't it?) standard here. Christians claim
to be able to save my soul. Seems to be claiming something they cannot
prove they can do in a way cognizable in court.
Is that fraud?
I suspect all religions make such undemonstrable claims to truth and to
have found the way - can we now use fraud to silence/supress them? Jews,
Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccan, and all others since they
cannot demonstrate the truth of the claims and we can easily show
detrimental reliance (payment of money to build religious buildings and to
support religious figures). It would put a dent in televangelism, wouldn't
But why stop there? Bush and Gore and every other candidate promises what
they cannot deliver and promise a better future for everyone. What if I
can prove that this is not true? BTW, how would I be able to prove such a
claim about the future?
Prof. Steven D. Jamar, Director LRW Program vox:
Howard University School of Law fax:
2900 Van Ness Street NW mailto:sjamar at law.howard.edu
Washington, DC 20008
"Reason is the wise person's guide, example the fool's."
Welsh proverb (gender-specific language updated)
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