Who botched the Oath of Office – Obama or Justice Roberts?


It was going so well.

It started on time. The world didn't end when Pastor Rick Warren gave the invocation. Aretha Franklin's hat didn't fly off her head, injuring thousands. Everything seemed to be on track.

Then came the Oath of Office.

No biggie

True, it wasn't that much of a big deal. Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States today and a wave of patriotism blanketed the country.

But there was one small gaffe (and oddly, it didn't occur with Vice President Biden).

The Oath of Oops

It was during the Oath of Office. There was a miscue between Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and the president-elect. Words got fumbled, there was an awkward pause, and the two men talked on top of each other.

The good news is that fisticuffs between the Harvard grads did not ensue.


Basically, it came down to the word "faithfully" and where it is mentioned during the oath.

Justice Roberts said, ""I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear [pause] that I will execute the Office of the President faithfully."

The oath is supposed to read, "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President."


How did the president-elect react?

Well, he followed Roberts's lead for a few words before seeming to realize that Roberts botched it. Ever cool, the president-elect stopped and nodded as if to say, "try again."

The justice gave it another shot. Obama voiced whatever he could to get Roberts back on track and the ceremony concluded.

All's well that ends well, right? You would think so. There is likely no hard feelings between the two -- at least for today's incident that is.

But in the past, there was a little friction. Back in 2005, then Senator Obama voted against Roberts's confirmation to the Supreme Court.


As Cliff Claven would say, here's a little known fact (courtesy of the Dallas Morning News). This marks the first time in history that a president was sworn in by a chief justice that he opposed.

Shocking? Not really. As Marcus Funk explains:

"It's simply a matter of numbers," Funk writes. "In the last 150 years, only four presidents have served in the Senate – Warren G. Harding, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Only two future presidents had the opportunity to vote on a chief justice – Kennedy and Johnson, who both voted for Earl Warren in 1953. And there only have been 17 chief justices."

Do it again

Get this. There's a law professor out there who says Obama should take the oath over again just to be sure.

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 perhaps 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."

Just when you thought the clamor over his birth certificate was over....

(By the way, have you seen President Obama's new limo?  Check it out here).

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.




Save for later


Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items