The presidential oath of office should be re-administered to Barack Obama because of his flub during Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, legal experts say.
Because of a mistake by Chief Justice John Roberts, Obama transposed one of the words in the oath. He should have said he will “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” but instead repeated Roberts’ cue and said he will “execute the Office of President of the United States faithfully.”
Josh White of the Washington Post noted: “The presidential oath of office is required of a new president before he can execute his power, and the Constitution is clear that its 35 words must be spoken exactly.”
Jonathan Turley, a professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, told the Post: “He should probably go ahead and take the oath again. If he doesn’t, there are going to be people who for the next four years are going to argue that he didn’t meet the constitutional standard.”
And Charles Cooper, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under President Ronald Reagan, said an incorrect recitation of the oath should be fixed and added that he would be surprised if the oath had not already been re-administered.
According to the Post, two previous presidents — Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur — repeated the oath in private because of similar issues.
Boston University’s Jack Beermann told Carolyn Lochhead at the San Francisco Chronicle that although it is unlikely to be challenged in court, just to play it safe, President Obama should do it again.
“It 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,” Berman said. “It’s an open question whether he’s president until he takes the proper oath.”
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