Hobson's choice is different from:
On occasion, speakers and writers use the phrase, "Hobbesian choice" instead of "Hobson's choice." Those speakers and writers confuse the famous philosopher Thomas Hobbes with the relatively obscure Thomas Hobson. Notwithstanding that confused usage, the phrase, "Hobbesian choice" remains historically incorrect.
Justice White, in the case of Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), used the term in his dissent. In using it, he was arguing that denying the House of Representatives the power to place veto provisions over the administrative agencies responsible for enacting the laws passed would leave the House with the Hobson's choice of either refraining from delegating the necessary authority, or abdicating its law-making function to the executive branch and independent agencies.
Justice Souter, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002), used the term in his dissent, arguing that families with school vouchers were presented with a Hobson's choice of applying their voucher toward the tuition of any school, secular or religious, regardless of the fact that 82% of all private schools in the Cleveland City School District were parochial schools.
Justice Scalia also used the term in a foot note to Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004) to refer to a choice between invoking the marital privilege and confronting one's spouse, quoting the lower court.
The Maryland Court of Appeals used the term and explained its origins as applied to a jury's decision-making ability when a prosecutor's unwillingness to pursue a lesser-included offense (e.g. second-degree murder or manslaughter), requiring a jury to convict a defendant of the greater crime (e.g. first-degree murder) or nothing at all. See Hook v. State, 315 Md. 25, 28 (1989).
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals used the term in describing the dilemma facing a creditor between complying with applicable North Carolina law requiring notice of intent to claim attorneys fees, and the prohibition of the automatic stay of the Bankruptcy Code against taking any action against a debtor. This is not a true Hobson's choice. In Re: Shangra-La, Inc., 167 F.3d 843, 851; 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 594; Bankr. L. Rep. (CCH) P77,879; 33 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 999 (4th Cir. 1999).
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals also used the term to describe a dilemma, (not a Hobson's choice), where a later-served defendant in a multiple defendant lawsuit may have to decide between foregoing their right to remove to federal court or hurriedly prepare their case and face Rule 11 sanctions. McKinney v. Bd. of Trustees of Md. Community College, 955 F.2d 924, 928 (4th Cir. 1992).
The California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, used the term in 1983 to describe the situation in which a university found itself unable to comply with a provision of the Cal. Government Code due to the likelihood that to do so would be in violation of Federal Law. This is not a true Hobson's choice. See: Regents of University of California v. Public Employment Relations Bd. (1983) 139 Cal.App.3d 1037, 189 Cal.Rptr. 298.
Also in EEOC v. Lockheed, 444 F.Supp.2d 414 (2006) in reference to a choice between withdrawing an EEOC charge or forfeiting severance benefits.
In American politics, Presidential candidate Dr. Alan Keyes coined the tongue-in-cheek phrase "Dobson's Choice" (mildly criticizing Dr. James Dobson) to highlight the dilemma conservative voters face in a two-party political system while choosing to endorse the lesser of two evils.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the phrase in her novel "Herland". The term also appears multiple times in Robert Heinlein's "Job: A Comedy of Justice." Harold Brighouse wrote a play entitled 'Hobson's Choice' in which the central character Hobson is given such a choice.
Hobson's Choice is a play by Harold Brighouse, the title coming from the expression. The play was first produced in America, the first English production being on June 22 1916 in London. The story is set in Salford in 1880.
In 1954, David Lean directed a film named Hobson's Choice, starring Charles Laughton and John Mills, a winner of the BAFTA award.
The lead character of Early Edition received tomorrow's newspaper today and would try to avert disasters reported therein. He was named Gary Hobson, a reference to this aphorism,.
In the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, the most successful stable owner in the city-state of Ankh-Morpork is named Hobson. Also, Lord Vetinari makes use of a Hobson's Choice scenario at both the beginning and end of the book Going Postal.
In The Grim Grotto the Baudelaires and Fiona cannot get out of a room due to a poisonous fungus (the Medusoid Mycelium) growing in the doorway. They refer to it as a Hobson's choice, but this would be a misunderstanding of the term.
In the 1980s, there existed a restaurant popular with students in Cambridge, England. Its name was Hobson's Choice. The menu was: Dish of the Day.
In an episode of "Screenwipe" Chalie Brooker claimed the title of the program "Ann Widdecombe Versus Prostitution" sounded like the ultimate Hobson's choice.
Buckley's Chance/Choice: 1896 ‘Old man Parkes hasn’t “Buckley’s chance” for the Waverley seat’ (Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Feb., p. 13); 1897 ‘He has “Buckley’s show” of working the mine with them’ (Worker (Sydney) 30 Oct., p. 2); 1902 ‘It is wise to be contented/With an humble lot, you know,/Especially when it’s obvious/You haven’t Buckley’s show!’ (Truth (Sydney) 30 Mar., p. 1); 1903 ‘About the only chance Sir Teaman Lipton has of winning the American Cup is Buckley’s’ (Truth (Sydney) 22 Mar., p. 1); 1913 ‘ “I suppose you think I have Buckley’s chance of winning this case?”.... “No, I think you have about the same chance as a celluloid dog would have of chasing an asbestos cat through hell” ’ (Truth (Sydney) 6 July, p. 1); 1927 ‘Th’ ole man got th’ axe an’ tried ’is dam’dest ter cut th’ vine an’ settle it; but ’e didn’t ’ave Buckley’s’ (Bulletin (Sydney) 28 July, p. 24); 1940 ‘Buckley’s choice. A new tunic was being issued to a recruit. “We have two kinds, those too large and those too small. Which will you have?” ’ (Sentry Go: Fourth Garrison Battalion, Oct., p. 9); 1978 ‘What chance have we got if the Nips land? Bloody Buckley’s!’ (H.C. Baker, I was Listening: True Australian Yarns about Colourful Men and Women p. 171); 1997 ‘Dinner For Six was clouted for correspondence admitting that some ladies, because they were over-chubby or over-tall or over-50, have Buckley’s hope of attracting an admirer at one of their culinary soirees’ (Age (Melbourne) 15 June, p. 16).
A contemporary example of Hobson's choice is the online store Woot! which offers one item for sale, which changes daily.