Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Chief Justice Roberts and the Presidential Oath
You have to feel a little bad for Chief Justice John Roberts. The fumbling of the presidential oath between incoming President Barack Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts lies squarely on the shoulders of the Chief Justice.
Not only is it the Chief Justice's responsibility to lead the new President through the oath, but it's also his responsibility to correctly administer the oath.
And yet Chief Justice Roberts incorrectly prompted the new President. Things got off to an awkward start when the Chief Justice and the incoming President seemed to be talking at the same time, as the Chief Justice asked Obama if he was ready. And things didn't get any better after that.
The presidential oath includes the phrase "that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States," but Roberts stuck "faithfully" at the end of the sentence instead. It created an awkward moment for Obama and for the inaugural event itself.
Now, let's show a little grace here. Tens of millions of people were watching and it was the first inauguration for Roberts as Chief Justice. It was an unfortunate error, and it's one he probably feels terrible about.
I know I've made my share of mistakes. So far, though, none of them had tens of millions of people around the world watching. :-)