At noon Tuesday, Roberts mangled the wording of the oath and, after a slight hesitation by Obama, the President-elect repeated the words as delivered.
Traditionally, Presidents have added, "So help me God" at the end of the Constitutional oath as emphasis ever since George Washington first added the phrase. Roberts appended the phrase to the oath as a question, "So help you God?" as if to challenge Obama's Christian faith or issuing a religious litmus test, which is a Constitutional violation. In any case, Obama quickly answered, "So help me God." Roberts should not have added the phrase. But, don't hold your breath for an ACLU objection.
The Constitution is very explicit on the point of the Presidential Oath of Office and does not address any other oaths for other offices. The 35-word oath prescribed in Article II, Section 1, clearly states,
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:Constitutional scholars advised the do-over oath in an "over abundance of caution". There was concern that without the proper sworn oath, Obama may face leagl challenges later. Precedent was established by Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur, who were re-sworn under similar circumstances.
"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."
Paraphrasing the Drudge Report description of the event:
While sitting on the couch in the Map Room waiting for Chief Justice Roberts to don his black robe, Obama joked, "We decided it was so much fun..."There are reasons for a do-over said Jack Beermann, Boston University constitutional scholar, speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle -
"Are you ready to take the oath?" Roberts asked.
"I am, and we're going to do it very slowly," Obama replied.
After 25 seconds and a flawless recitation, Roberts smiled and said, "Congratulations, again."
President Obama said, "Thank you, sir."
There was a smattering of applause from the assembled staff and reportorial witnesses. "All right." said Obama. "The bad news for the pool is there are 12 more balls.
It's an open question whether he's president until he takes the proper oath... The Constitution says what he's supposed to say... It would seem appropriate for the president of the United States to take the oath specified in the Constitution... It's the same oath all 43 of his predecessors took. He ought to take it.President Ronald Reagan's chief of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, Charles Cooper agreed the oath is mandatory and an incorrect recitation should be corrected.
Jonathan Turley, George Washington University constitutional law professor, said,
He should probably go ahead and take the oath again. 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.Now that the Constitutional scholars, former and current government legal officials, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and President Barack Obama agree that it is important to follow the requirements of the Constitution, how about doing something about that birth certificate and natural born citizen requirement. We wouldn't want anyone thinking Obama is a usurper president because he has not provided proof he is a natural born citizen by means of an official vault copy Birth Certificate. That would be crazy.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.