Obama takes the oath (update)

Listen carefully.  I thought that Barack Obama was nervous, which he probably was, but Chief Justice John Roberts messed up the oath.

Each president recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

From NYT:

For a couple of smooth-talking constitutional experts, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and President-elect Barack Obama sure had a hard time getting through the constitutional oath of office.

There was, first of all, a false start from Mr. Obama, who started to respond before the chief justice had completed the first phrase. Mr. Obama ended up saying the first four words – “I, Barack Hussein Obama” – twice.

Then there was an awkward pause after Chief Justice Roberts prompted Mr. Obama with these words: “that I will execute the office of the president to the United States faithfully.” The chief justice seemed to say “to” rather than “of,” but that was not the main problem. The main problem was that the word “faithfully” had floated upstream in the constitutional text, which actually says this: “That I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States.”

Mr. Obama seemed to realize this, pausing quizzically after saying “that I will execute –”

The chief justice gave it another go, getting closer but still not quite right: “faithfully the office of president of the United States.” This time, he omitted the word “execute.”

Mr. Obama now repeated the chief justice’s initial error of putting “faithfully” at the end of the phrase. Starting where he had abruptly paused, he said: “the office of the president of the United States faithfully.”

It was smooth sailing from there. All of the words in the oath were uttered, along with “so help me God” at the end.

People will argue about what the failure to utter the words in the precise order required by the Constitution means. But it will be an academic argument. It is not clear who would have standing to raise the argument that Mr. Obama had not become president as a consequence, and it is hard to believe that any court – or other body – would want to adjudicate the question.(more… )

0 Responses

  1. You have to admit that President Obama started talking before the Chirf Justive quit talking.

    The guy is in love with his own voice.

    Listen toi my show today, I’ll break it down for you very simply so you can understand it.

  2. Matt –

    I agree that Barack jumped the gun. I don’t think that he is in love with his voice any more than you or I are in love with our voices. Check my update.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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