The Inaugural Oath: Chief Justice Slip-Up

By Thomas Nagorski

Jan 20, 2009 12:40pm

Chief Justice John Roberts is a man who has made very few public missteps in his life — but he appears to have made one when swearing in Barack Obama. Roberts slightly flubbed the oath, which then tripped up Obama. The oath is contained in the Constitution: "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 when Roberts swore in Obama, he flipped some of the words, saying: "I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully." Here’s the transcript: ROBERTS: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator? OBAMA: I am. ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama… OBAMA: I, Barack… ROBERTS: … do solemnly swear… OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear… ROBERTS: … that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully… OBAMA: … that I will execute… ROBERTS: … faithfully the office of president of the United States… OBAMA: … the office of president of the United States faithfully… ROBERTS: … and will to the best of my ability… OBAMA: … and will to the best of my ability… ROBERTS: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. OBAMA: … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. ROBERTS: So help you God? OBAMA: So help me God. ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.

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