Swearing-in Do-over

President Obama and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts met again to give the ‘ole presidential oath another try.  Statement from White House Counsel Greg Craig:

“We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the President was sworn in appropriately yesterday. But the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time.”

I think this was probably a good idea, generally speaking, but I definitely think this would have been much better had he retaken the oath before issuing any Presidential Executive Orders.  As it stands now, I do see a potential window down the road for challenges to the legality of those orders issued before the full and proper oath was taken.  I do understand that one reading of the Constitution allows that the President-Elect becomes the President-in-fact at 12 Noon regardless of the oath, as many commentators mentioned during the inauguration.  However, the Constitution does specifically prescribe the oath that the President-Elect must take, and the interpretation that views the oath-taking as critical to becoming the president is certainly supported by Obama’s decision to retake the oath (to get it exactly as the Constitution requires, thus, legitimizing the actual oath as the (or “a”) threshold for becoming president).

Overall, I do think it was wise of them.  Maybe they didn’t want to make a big issue of it at the time, and decided later (perhaps after some constitutional scholars weighed-in on the (full and proper) oath’s importance) to just retake it as soon as possible and end any ambiguity.  All I’m saying is that they have only ended any ambiguity from the retake onward.  Any presidential action done before that could still be argued as being invalid—if you interpret the Constitution as requiring the proper oath to become Pres, not just 12 Noon passing (a view Obama apparently shares, given the retake).

(HatTip: Politico)


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2 Responses to “Swearing-in Do-over”

  1. MikeytheunhappyPeasant Says:

    There is no chance an executive order would have been overturned b/c it was made after a slightly rearranged oath. JR & BO must have a soft heart for right wing AM radio callers, and decided to save them some time and effort by clearing this up. Although, now that it’s been redone, they do sort of add legitimacy to the crazy idea that orders made under the previous oath are bunk.

  2. Creedo Says:

    As the Dish linked yesterday, this is not the first time this has happened. Maybe JR wanted to screw Obambi since Obambi voted against his confirmation. Maybe W was still president until the second oath. The staffers at the WH must be clamoring to get those pre-2nd time orders reversed. This way they can get a pay raise!! I think Valerie Jarret is at the court house now making the case.

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