A blog . . . in spite of how pathetic blogging actually is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Didn't Want to Say Anything At the Time

I watched the oath of office with a room full of people who were, save for a couple of colleagues who stopped by, younger than Malia Obama the last time we had a day like today (an inauguration that was a full transfer of power) . . . . so I bit my tongue when I saw and heard what I thought I saw and heard.

"No," I thought, "Must be some older version, tried and true, adapted from the mid-1800's or something. Who says we have to go verbatim off the Constitution? I'm witnessing a throwback gesture. Maybe this was Lincoln's oath."

But something about President Obama's face (the smile in particular) and the body language suggested otherwise.

Turns out I was right. The Oath of Office got a little mussed up today.

And, for those who would ask (as several of my students did after class), the answer is no, you can't use this technicality to argue that Barack Obama isn't the President of the United States. The Oath is required by the Constitution, but his Presidency began at Noon, or about 7 minutes before John Roberts, Jr. butchered his lines. For that matter, President Obama got the launch codes at 10 AM, a full two hours earlier (A thought that doesn't at all remind me of the day when I first started at Shorewood High School and they gave me . . . classroom keys).

Incidentally, what you saw today between President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts was historic in another way (other than the cue-card-less version of the Oath submitted for our disapproval). It was the first time that a President took an Oath of Office from a Chief Justice whose nomination the President formally rejected. President Obama is the first person to be elected to his office from the U.S. Senate since John F. Kennedy (who was sworn in by Earl Warren who was Senatorially approved to the High Court when Kennedy was just a Congressman from Massachusetts). Senator Barack Obama voted against the nomination of John Roberts, Jr. That's a first in U.S. history.

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