Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roberts and Obama both flub the oath of office.

People who are nervous and excited, at one of the most important events of their lives often have trouble speaking or reading clearly. Especially in front of thousands of people in person and millions more watching via media.

So I'm willing to give them both a pass, and assume the oath is taken as required by the Constitution.

However, I'm going to predict that someone, somewhere, is going to throw a fit. Over the next few months, the "Obama can't be President" crowd is going to claim that because Barak Obama didn't take the oath of office as precisely required by the Constitution, that means he was never sworn in as President. Others are going to claim that he never took the oath, and so isn't going to be bound to it, and is going to become some sort of tyrant. Likely, a few will claim that Chief Justice Roberts deliberately screwed it up, so that Obama wouldn't be sworn in, or so that Obama wouldn't have to adhere to the oath.

I believe that to be nonsense. Eight years of the Bush administration have shown that in this country, the President will freely disregard the principles of the Constitution, its dictates and limitations. And the other branches of government will not call him on it. Obama doesn't need some contrived avoidance of the oath of office to do what he wishes.

I also strongly suspect that if Chief Justice Roberts intended to not swear in Obama, he would have explicitly refused to do so. There would be no reason to intentionally screw it up to set up some sort of legal wrangling - if he'd really wanted to, he would have said something like, "Senator Obama, I cannot in good conscience administer the oath of office today."

We don't need the conspiratorial interpretations today. Never attribute to malice that which is more obviously attributable to human failings.


phaedrus said...


It took less than an hour.

Also, apparently, Obama's already lost the victory in Iraq or about to do so: http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/01/inheriting_victory_in_iraq.asp

Lord Carnifex said...

Just to be safe, Obama took the oath again:


phaedrus said...

And fortunately, two other presidents have taken the oath twice, so there is a precedent.