January 21, 2009

Oath Controversy

The furor about Obama misstating the Constitutional oath of office doesn't seem to go away. So the Chief Justice traveled to the White House and re-administered the oath, exactly as the Constitution specifies, earlier today. So -- that's it. He took the correct oath, it's all done.

But, the thing has taught me a new phrase -- "multum in parvo." This is Latin. It means "storm in pot" or, more loosely, "tempest in a teapot." So I, for one, have profited from this.


DaveBuck said...

Why did Justice Roberts have to make a special trip? There is no need for someone to administer the oath, right? Obama just needs to say it in front of witnesses.

As I think about it, I guess it is out of courtesy to have Roberts be part of it.

Burt Likko said...

If I had been in Roberts' shoes, I would have wanted to have done it myself.

Note, though, that Obama didn't use a Bible the second time around.

zzi said...

Someone got their wish
After a flawless recitation that included no Bible and took 25 seconds, Roberts smiled and said, "Congratulations, again."

Question to an attorney. If I didn't recite my marriage vows exactly as stated, am I able to get out of the marriage without an attorney. (no smart answers, I have a million of them)

Burt Likko said...

The law has a concept called "harmless error," with broad application. A minor error in form will not alter the outcome of a legal event.

In the case of a marriage, the signing of the certificate controls, not an error made while reciting vows during a solemnization ceremony. As far as the law is concerned, there is no specific prescribed content for the ceremony in the first place, so you can say whatever vows you want; there are no 'wrong' vows.