” . . so help me Dyēus.”



Dyēus Bless the USA


  1. acilius

     /  January 20, 2009

    I hope the fact that Roberts messed up the oath doesn’t give rise to any legal challenge to Obama’s status as president! If it did, I suppose all Mr O would have to do is recite the oath correctly.

  2. cymast

     /  January 21, 2009

    According to the Constitution, Obama became President at noon on Tuesday regardless. He could’ve skipped the oath and instead danced a jig, and he still would’ve been President. His term probably wouldn’t of lasted very long, but he would’ve briefly been President.

    “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.”

  3. cymast

     /  January 21, 2009

    It’s a shame the oath has been hijacked with “so help me God.” I wonder how many peope would’ve gone into convulsions had Obama said “so help me Satan.” It’s all the same.

  4. acilius

     /  January 21, 2009

    At noon Bush’s term ended and Obama’s term began. However, Obama did not take up the office until a few minutes into his term. The presidency was vacant until Obama took the oath. That much is clear from the last clause of Article Two: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

  5. cymast

     /  January 21, 2009

    I agree that he “did not take up the office” until he finished the oath. I disagree that the presidency was vacant. Who was President then- nobody? I’m just saying technically he was an un-oathed President before he took the oath, and actually taking the oath was his first presidential duty. I’m sure you could look back at every inauguration and find a discrepancy of at least plus or minus a few seconds between noon and the final word of the oath.

  6. acilius

     /  January 21, 2009

    That’s right, there was no US president for those minutes. Which usually happens during first inaugurals, it’s rare for the president to be sworn by noon. Once in a while someone will get agitated about that, I can’t imagine why. Maybe they’re afraid that if we go a few moments without a president, people might start to wonder whether we ought to have a president at all.

    There was a whole day once when nobody was president. James Polk’s term ended at noon on Sunday, 4 March 1849. Zachary Taylor was rather strict about the Sabbath and refused to take the oath until the next morning. As someone who would like to see the presidency abolished, I refer to those 20 hours or so as America’s Golden Age.

  7. cymast

     /  January 21, 2009

    Sounds like pedantic semantics to me . . but yeah I agree with the solution.

  8. acilius

     /  January 22, 2009

    What would you expect the White House say?

    Speaking of phrases like “the White House says,” I once heard former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich say on TV that he had learned in his time near the top of the executive branch not to take orders from inanimate objects. When he was first installed as labor secretary, if someone said “The White House wants you to go to Cleveland,” he would snap to attention and jump on the next plane to Cleveland. After a while, he started asking “Who in the White House wants me to go to Cleveland?” If it was the president or someone immediately under the president, he would snap to attention and jump on the next plane to Cleveland. “If it was someone in the White House under 30, then we’ll talk about going to Cleveland.”

  9. cymast

     /  January 22, 2009

    I would expect the White House to say exactly what it did say. I would have credited the statement to an animate object had the acticle credited the statement to an animate object.

    My point was the statement is accepted as fact.

  10. acilius

     /  January 22, 2009

    This is an area where Reich’s question is unnecessary. Nobody in the White House is likely to say anything that challenges the cult of the presidency in the tiniest way. The idea that the country can survive for one second without a president is anathema to everyone whose livelihood and prestige depend on the presidential mystique.

  11. cymast

     /  January 22, 2009

    Hear, hear!

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