If at first you secede… try again

The much hyped inauguration of Mr Barack H. Obama went off with just one hitch. There was a mistake in the swearing of the oath. So he did it again, in the Map Room at the Whitehouse. The SMH reports:

“We believe that the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately yesterday,” said White House Counsel Greg Craig.

“But the oath appears in the Constitution itself. And out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time.”

Does this mean that anything President Obama did prior to the second swearing is open for legal challenge? Apparently not.

On Tuesday, Jeffrey Rosen, a US constitutional law expert and professor at George Washington University in Washington, said stumbling over the oath had “no impact. News flash: He’s president”.

Rosen pointed to the 20th amendment of the US Constitution, which provides that the president and vice president’s term begins at noon on January 20th.

“Lots of people have flubbed the oath, perhaps most memorably Chief Justice (William Howard) Taft, who sort of riffed and then made up his own” upon swearing in then-president Herbert Hoover, said Rosen.

But Obama, like our own K-Rudd (at least in this regard) seems to be big on symbolism.

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