John Roberts and Barack Obama: 4 Oaths of Office?

PHOTO: Chief Justice John Roberts smiles for the cameras as the nine members of the Supreme Court pose for a new group photograph October, 08, 2010 in Washington, DC.; President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn before boarding Marine One and depar
Share
Copy

By next Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts will have recited the presidential oath of office together four times.

Four times? For a president who is only entering his second term? It's complicated.

Recall that in 2009, the president and the chief justice got off to a rocky start. They had to do it twice.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution determined the wording of the oath: "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."

But in 2009 when Roberts began, without notes, he stumbled on the words, which caused the President to stumble. They got through it, but a couple of words were rearranged and omitted. So the next day, the White House asked if Roberts could come by and redo the oath, out of an abundance of caution, so that no one could ever question the President's legitimacy.

In his book "The Oath," Jeffrey Toobin reports that Roberts was gracious when he arrived at the White House. "I always believe in belt and suspenders," Toobin quotes Roberts as saying. "This is absolutely the right thing to do."

Flash forward to 2013.

The Constitution says: "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January." This year the 20th falls on a Sunday.

Historically, inaugural ceremonies are not held on Sunday because courts and other public institutions are not open.

So the president and the chief justice will meet at the White House in the Blue Room at 11:55 a.m. on Sunday for the official swearing-in. It will be covered by the White House pooled press.

Then they will get together again on Capitol Hill on Monday at 11:30 for the ceremonial swearing-In.

And because this is the last inauguration for the President, presumably that will be the last presidential oath. If all goes according to plan.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...