Chief Roberts’ Grammatical Malfunction: Does the Oath Count?

225px-official_roberts_cjIt was Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s version of a wardrobe malfunction. He flubbed the 35-word oath and learned why his predecessor Chief Justice William Rehnquist always read the oath for accuracy. Now, there is a debate as to whether the oath is constitutionally valid and the possibility that Obama should take the oath again out of an abundance of caution. Today I did this segment on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. I will also be discussing this tonight on MSNBC Countdown.

The words of the oath are placed in quotations in the Constitution and are therefore to be taken with precision. Roberts was anything but precise. He moved the adverb, which Obama appears to have caught to his credit.
This is the problem of trying to to without notes.

The oath is supposed to read: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Instead, Roberts said the words: “that I will execute the office of President to the United States faithfully,” putting “faithfully” at the end of the phrase, and substituting the word “to” for “of.”

The easiest solution is to simply retake the oath, which was done by Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur. For an article discussing the issue, click here.

For the clip, click here.

52 thoughts on “Chief Roberts’ Grammatical Malfunction: Does the Oath Count?”

  1. Finally, just in case anyone forgets: we have legal controls and protections to above all minimize the chance of (and devastation of, should it occur) innocents being drawn into the criminal or military confinement systems, not to be nice to actual miscreants etc. And many innocents have been drawn into the systems of Gitmo and elsewhere.

  2. FFLEO said,

    “To me it’s beyond comprehension that they would take the side of the terrorists,”
    _____________________________________________

    The only side Mr. Obama is taking involves the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. signed treaties. I would add it just also happens to be the ‘good/right side’.

    ______

    I’d like to point out that Neocon conservatism, by FFLEO’s very astute definition, is categorically evil. The inverse function. The flip side of the coin. Post partisan doesn’t mean giving evil a pass, but you keep trying to spin your way out of it. It won’t work in the long term. Don’t act evil, you won’t get treated like you’re evil. I don’t give a shit if your feelings are hurt. Your lot turned this country into just what the terrorists wanted: a fascist police state. A little pain might teach you shitheels a lesson. MSNBCer and the other trolls will found out soon enough – Obama or not, they WILL be paying a price for what they have done to this country. That price can be paid peacefully if they turn over the guilty. NOW. Resist and there will be violence. That’s not a threat. That’s a pattern of history. “Let them eat cake” ring a bell? So let them “defend” Bush and evil. They choose poorly. And poor choices have consequences. Forgive and forget? Not f-ing likely. The GOP’s trouble is just starting if you don’t turn over the guilty. That IS a promise.

  3. “To me it’s beyond comprehension that they would take the side of the terrorists,”
    _____________________________________________

    The only side Mr. Obama is taking involves the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. signed treaties. I would add it just also happens to be the ‘good/right side’.

  4. 9/11 Families Outraged by Obama Call to Suspend Guantanamo War Crimes Trials

    Families of victims of terrorist attacks say they are outraged by President Obama’s call to halt the trials of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

    AP
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Family members of people killed on September 11, 2001, and in other terror attacks say they are outraged by President Obama’s draft order calling for the suspension of war crimes trials of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.

    “To me it’s beyond comprehension that they would take the side of the terrorists,” said Peter Gadiel, whose son, James, was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. “Many of these people have been released and been right back killing, right back at their terrorist work again.”

  5. doglover 1, January 21, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    But But PattyC “summahs” near the Chief Justice.

    P.S. One can not determine Jawad’s guilt or innocence until the young man is given a fair and proper trial (can you say, “due process”?)

    No, the Chief Justice ‘summahs’ near Patty C…

    My response was to Jill who repeatedly makes medical and scientific
    (and legal!!!) proclamations, here, when she obviously has no training in either field – whatsoever…

  6. Jill, note the American soldier Khadr killed was a MEDIC. a MEDIC!

    Jill, the Khadr family:

    “We are an Al Qaeda family.” So spoke one of the Khadrs, a Muslim Canadian household whose near single-minded devotion to Osama bin Laden contains important lessons for the West.

    In 1985, in the course of working in Afghanistan, Khadr met bin Laden and became his close associate. Sometimes Khadr was described as the highest ranking of Al Qaeda’s 75 Canadian operatives.

    In 1996, he and his wife set up an Islamic charity they named “Health and Education Project International.” When the Taliban took control in Afghanistan a few months later, the parents and their six children decamped there. As he worked closely with bin Laden, Khadr became known for his militant Islamic vitriol, leading one Frenchman in Afghanistan to observe about him,” I never met such hostility, someone so against the West.”

    Like other Al Qaeda leaders, Khadr disappeared from view soon after 9/11. He spent two years on the lam, reappearing only in October 2003,when Pakistani forces unexpectedly found that the DNA of one unrecognizable corpse from a bloody shootout matched Khadr’s.

    The terrorism-related activities of other Khadr family members — wife, one of two daughters, three of four sons — complement their patriarch’s record.

    Wife Maha Elsamnah took her then 14-year-old son Omar from Canada to Pakistan in 2001 and enrolled him for Al Qaeda training.

    Daughter Zaynab, 23, was engaged to one terrorist and married, with Osama bin Laden himself present at the nuptials, a Qaeda member in 1999. Zaynab endorses the 9/11 atrocities and hopes her infant daughter will die fighting Americans.

    Son Abdullah, 22, is a Qaeda fugitive constantly on the move to elude capture. Canadian intelligence states he ran a Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan during the Taliban period, something Abdullah denies.

    Son Omar, 17, stands accused of hurling a grenade in July 2002, killing an American medic in Afghanistan. Omar lost sight in one eye in the fighting and is now a U.S. detainee in Guantánamo.
    Son Abdul Karim, 14, half-paralyzed by wounds sustained in the October 2003 shoot-out that left his father dead, is presently prisoner in a Pakistani hospital.

    Fortunately, there is also one positive story:

    Son Abdurahman, 21, reluctantly trained with Al Qaeda, was captured by coalition forces in November 2001 and agreed to work for the Central Intelligence Agency in Kabul, Guantánamo, and Bosnia. He returned to Canada in October 2003, where he denounced both extremism (”I want to be a good, strong, civilized, peaceful Muslim” ) and his family’s terroristic ways.

    PS:
    Rachael Maddow needs to apologize to American soldiers.

  7. rafflaw: would you say Rush hoping Bin Laden fails would be the equivalent of the left hoping Bush fails, because that is what you have been whining here. It is called politics; if I believe, as a single example, abortion is murder, don’t I want Obama to fail at liberalizing abortion?

  8. Jill, the Khadr family:

    “We are an Al Qaeda family.” So spoke one of the Khadrs, a Muslim Canadian household whose near single-minded devotion to Osama bin Laden contains important lessons for the West.

    In 1985, in the course of working in Afghanistan, Khadr met bin Laden and became his close associate. Sometimes Khadr was described as the highest ranking of Al Qaeda’s 75 Canadian operatives.

    In 1996, he and his wife set up an Islamic charity they named “Health and Education Project International.” When the Taliban took control in Afghanistan a few months later, the parents and their six children decamped there. As he worked closely with bin Laden, Khadr became known for his militant Islamic vitriol, leading one Frenchman in Afghanistan to observe about him,” I never met such hostility, someone so against the West.”

    Like other Al Qaeda leaders, Khadr disappeared from view soon after 9/11. He spent two years on the lam, reappearing only in October 2003,when Pakistani forces unexpectedly found that the DNA of one unrecognizable corpse from a bloody shootout matched Khadr’s.

    The terrorism-related activities of other Khadr family members — wife, one of two daughters, three of four sons — complement their patriarch’s record.

    Wife Maha Elsamnah took her then 14-year-old son Omar from Canada to Pakistan in 2001 and enrolled him for Al Qaeda training.

    Daughter Zaynab, 23, was engaged to one terrorist and married, with Osama bin Laden himself present at the nuptials, a Qaeda member in 1999. Zaynab endorses the 9/11 atrocities and hopes her infant daughter will die fighting Americans.

    Son Abdullah, 22, is a Qaeda fugitive constantly on the move to elude capture. Canadian intelligence states he ran a Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan during the Taliban period, something Abdullah denies.

    Son Omar, 17, stands accused of hurling a grenade in July 2002, killing an American medic in Afghanistan. Omar lost sight in one eye in the fighting and is now a U.S. detainee in Guantánamo.
    Son Abdul Karim, 14, half-paralyzed by wounds sustained in the October 2003 shoot-out that left his father dead, is presently prisoner in a Pakistani hospital.

    Fortunately, there is also one positive story:

    Son Abdurahman, 21, reluctantly trained with Al Qaeda, was captured by coalition forces in November 2001 and agreed to work for the Central Intelligence Agency in Kabul, Guantánamo, and Bosnia. He returned to Canada in October 2003, where he denounced both extremism (“I want to be a good, strong, civilized, peaceful Muslim” ) and his family’s terroristic ways.

Comments are closed.