ABOUT THAT OATH, REDUX…. OK, so Chief Justice John Roberts had a little trouble administering the presidential oath of office yesterday. Barack Obama has been gracious about the whole thing, telling ABC News, “Well, listen, I think we were up there, we’ve got a lot of stuff on our minds and he actually, I think, helped me out on a couple of stanzas there. Overall, I think it went relatively smoothly and I’m very grateful to him.”
But there’s still the matter of the mistake itself. The Washington Post reports that constitutional law experts agree that the “flub is insignificant,” but the new president might want to straighten this out anyway.
Lawyers said Obama and his supporters need not be worried about the legitimacy of his presidency, but they also said a do-over couldn’t hurt. Charles Cooper, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under President Ronald Reagan, said that the oath is mandatory, that an incorrect recitation should be fixed and that he would be surprised if the oath had not already been re-administered.
Akhil Reed Amar, a Yale University professor of constitutional law, said, “Out of a super-abundance of caution, perhaps he should do it again.”
Jonathan Turley, a professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, was hosting an inauguration party at his McLean home yesterday and did a mock swearing-in of 35 children. When Roberts erred, one child shouted: “That’s not right!”
“He should probably go ahead and take the oath again,” Turley said. “If he doesn’t, there are going to be people who for the next four years are going to argue that he didn’t meet the constitutional standard. I don’t think it’s necessary, and it’s not a constitutional crisis. This is the chief justice’s version of a wardrobe malfunction.”
No word yet on whether Roberts and Obama have re-connected.