From our friends at Volokh
[Jonathan Adler, January 21, 2009 at 4:02pm] Trackbacks
Should Obama Retake the Oath of Office? Carolyn Lochhead has an interesting story in the San Francisco Chronicle on teh flubbed oath at yesterday's inauguration:
The oath reads: "I do solemnly swear 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."
In giving the oath, Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully," at which point Obama paused quizzically. Roberts then corrected himself, but Obama repeated the words as Roberts initially said them.
A do-over "would take him 30 seconds, he can do it in private, it's not a big deal, and he ought to do it just to be safe," said Boston University constitutional scholar and Supreme Court watcher Jack Beermann. "It's an open question whether he's president until he takes the proper oath."
The courts would probably never hear a challenge, and some might argue that Obama automatically took office at noon because that's when President Bush left the office. But because the procedure is so explicitly prescribed in the Constitution, Beermann said if he were Obama's lawyer, he would recommend retaking it, just as two previous presidents, Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur, did under similar circumstances.