Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A little bit of history

Yesterday apparently did not have enough historical firsts for an inauguration. So another one has been added. A short while ago in the Map Room of the White House President (we think) Obama took the oath of office... again. Only this time he and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court managed to get it right. Those who watched the event yesterday will recall that the highest ranking judge in the country (a renowned constitutional scholar) and the former editor of the Harvard Law Review could not seem to remember the words, or at least their correct order. The White House cited "an abundance of caution" in the decision to repeat the oath.

This is the first time a President has retaken the oath after a formal inauguration. Calvin Coolidge took the oath a second time following the death of Warren Harding (Coolidge was Vice-President) in 1923. His father, a public notary in Vermont, had given him the Oath by kerosene lamp after the news of the president's death reached them. Coolidge also cited an abundance of caution.

Immediately after the ceremony President (we are now certain) Obama told reporters that the bad news was there were now 12 more balls to go to.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

But does this second oath count, as I don't see him putting his hand on any Bible?

Constitutionally, he became President at noon, with or without any oath.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Actually the constitution requires an oath. It does not require a Bible. The Bible is a matter of custom. That said I think the White House was right on two points. First the oath yesterday was effectual. And secondly that it was prudent to do it again if for no other reason that to show a great respect for the letter of the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Mercury retrograde, don'cha know.