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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:39 AM
Original message
The Funniest part About the Oath Flub
Roberts is supposedly a "textualist," a strict constructionist. In other words, he's of the group that completely fetishizes the actual words of the U.S. Constitution, and considers those words to be fixed and transparent signifiers of a constant idea. For the textualists, it's not merely a matter of "interpreting" the "original intent." Rather, the original intent can only be interpreted using the fixed signifiers of the document, the text itself, the words themselves. For a textualist to screw up the actual text of the Constitution - a mere 35 or so words in this case - is just hilarious. I have no doubt that John Roberts is a smart cookie, but this ranks pretty high up there in terms of embarrassing flubs, especially given his theoretical position on the text of the document.
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. ...and THAT, Alanis, is ironic
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 09:41 AM by Richardo
Good observation :thumbsup:
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Uzybone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
2. The idiot should have brought notes
a grizzled veteran like Stevens brought notes, but smarty pants Roberts thought he had the whole thing memorized. He ended up looking like a fool.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. Yep
He has disgraced himself and his office. Basically, it could be said he violated the constitution.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
3. My local rag said that they both flubbed it
no, Obama waited for Roberts to correct himself.

Obama knew what it was supposed to be.

Good point
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #3
20. Obama did not only wait for Roberts to correct himself. He stopped and nodded to Roberts to take
a do over. Obama brought the cool. Roberts looked like an arrogant showoff who had zero reason to be arrogant.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #20
27. The perfect Republican icon "an arrogant showoff who had zero reason to be arrogant"
Name one current Republican who doesn't fit that description, I dare you.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. Agreed.
:thumbsup:

And President Obama ( !!! :D !!! ) was very generous to him about it.
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TTUBatfan2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
5. As bad as the "faithfully" flub was...
The "President TO the United States" was even more embarrassing. I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to the office of the Presidency in that way, especially not in a formal setting. "President OF the United States" should roll off the tongue in the same way that you easily remember to ride a bicycle even after many years of not riding one. Even if you haven't said "President of the United States" recently, it should still be an automatic deal.
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Marie26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. That's significant, isn't it?
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 09:54 AM by Marie26
President "of" the United States implies possession, control - like the CEO "of" Microsoft. "To" implies a subservient position - like Assistant "to" the CEO of Microsoft. It's odd phrasing & not something that anyone would normally say.
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TTUBatfan2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Well he is subservient to us...
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 10:04 AM by TTUBatfan2008
We can vote him out of office if we think he's doing a bad job 4 years from now. But he is also the head OF state. It was just an awkward flub. It seems rather idiotic to me that a Chief Justice OF the Supreme Court OF the United States could screw up that wording when he has it in his own title.
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Marie26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. Exactly
Of course the President is subservient to the people, but when's the last time *anyone* referred to the "President to the United States?" I vote for a "freudian slip" - maybe Roberts didn't intend to mess it up, but he couldn't conceal his bitterness & lack of respect.
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nxylas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #14
29. Is that like Assistant TO THE Regional Manager?
Fans of The Office will know what I'm talking about.
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Marie26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Assistant Regional Manager
has so much more prestige!
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EraOfResponsibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #5
16. Exactly, when he said that I was like WTF??? Who says that?
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
18. Some freeps and other assorted flotsam and jetsam are
claiming that it was a "Freudian slip" on Roberts' part, since he "knew" that Obama was an "outsider" who'd "usurped" the presidency. I don't know how these idiots manage to dress and feed themselves every day, let alone do anything else.
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JohnnyRingo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #18
26. They don't have to think...
They open their mouths and broadcast AM radio without the static.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #5
21. They should have just let George swear him in.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #5
25. Jesus, did Roberts say TO also? These Federalist Society prick lawye really have a secret agenda eh!
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
33. No wonder it had to be
retaken today for which I am eternally grateful!
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:44 AM
Response to Original message
6. This is one flub that will be with Roberts FOREVER.
It will be one of those things that get brought up at every inauguration from this point on.
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riverwalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
8. Heckuvajob, Johnnie
We pay you too much to screw up. $217,400 plus.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/blctjustices.htm

We want a refund, jackass.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. Well, according to a recent speech of his,
he wants his pay, as well as the pay of the other justices and federal judges, dramatically increased because, he whines, it's just not enough for their duties. Uh-huh.
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
9. His problem was that he was arrogant enough to think
that he didn't need no stinkin' notes, he was beyond brilliant and he'd do just fine, unlike every single other justice who's administered the oath (all used notes). Even the smartest people quite often need notes, especially when you know you're before a live worldwide audience of billions and it's your first time. As someone in another thread said, it was overconfidence and underpreparation. The whole thing would really be inconsequential if there weren't idiot fringe freeps and even repubs making a big deal out of it, blaming Obama.
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gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Exactly what I said in a post yesterday:
I suspect Roberts assumed that he had such an intimate familiarity with the Constitution that this meant that he could recite those 35 words in his sleep. So he didn't need to practice. He didn't need to worry about it.

A sorry misjudgment in his own abilities.
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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
22. You're being too kind.
Not "a sorry misjudgment in his own abilities," but the arrogance of a self-important mental midget.

NGU.

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Marie26 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
10. Unless the intent was to say
"You are not worthy to recite this oath." In which case, he preserved the "original" text from being sullied by a Democratic President. Quite typical of these "textualists" anyway, who usually see fit to twist the actual words when it suits their purposes... But I'm over it!
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #10
24. Arrogance on the part of Roberts, that would certainly make sense to a thin Blue lipped Wasp
...like Roberts although it is a shameful reason.
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BeyondGeography Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
11. Great point
It also shows how labels like "strict constructionist" become a substitute for thought and open the door to intellectual laziness. What a full-service fuck up that was. He mangled the words AND the grammar. "President TO the United States..." If you do any public speaking at all, you know that every line needs to be handled with care. He was careless.
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progdonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
12. damn, I swear I didn't copy you... ;-)
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
23. All the more reason why I believe this was not a flub but a deliberate effort on the part of Roberts
...to trip up Obama.

First, Roberts talk over Obama by ignoring the delivery protocol of the oath of office when he failed to pause after reciting: "I, Barrack Hussein Obama" <pause and wait for Obama to repeat>.

Instead, Roberts deliberately and forcefully talked over Obama by verbally pushing past him with..."do solemnly swear".

Then when he had Obama off balance Roberts again deliberately recites the text out of sequence by saying: "that I will execute the Office of President of the United States -- faithfully".

Now that phrasing changes the entire meaning of the oath from "faithfully execute". As Supreme Court Justice Roberts knows that and that is why I believe it was deliberately mangled.




Here is the correct text for the oath:

"I (name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."


<snip>
Faithfully Execute Faithfully the Office of President of the United States Faithfully
Posted by Neal on January 20, 2009

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Doug and Adam are sick today, and were hanging out in the living room watching the inauguration ceremony. The actual swearing-in was interesting. Chief Justice Roberts started out with the words for Obama to repeat:

I, Barack Hussein Obama

Obama repeated: I, Barack

Whoops! Justice Roberts wasnt done yet! He went on: do solemnly swear

Obama took it from the top: I, Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear

Ten minutes earlier, I had heard a slightly too-long pause between Justice Stevenss intonation of part of the vice-presidential oath of office and Joe Bidens repeating of it, and I could almost see Biden thinking, Is it my turn now? OK, hes waiting, so it must be my turn. Now, during the shorter presidential oath, Obama stumbled in the opposite direction. Of course, it was a stumble on the part of Roberts, too, since he could have waited for Obama to finish saying his name, and then go on with do solemnly swear.

The oath went on. I didnt catch it precisely, and we were watching on a TV without DVR, so I couldnt rewind, but when it got to the part about faithfully executing the office of President of the United States, there was some more stopping, starting, and backtracking. The wording in the Constitution is:

I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States

This is a natural placement of the adverb, between the modal will and the rest of the verb phrase. Roberts phrased it like this:

I will execute faithfully the office of President of the United States

This is also grammatical, but a little bit stilted. I wondered if Roberts was a victim of the no split infinitives rule gone wild, the pseudo-rule that causes people to rearrange adverbs when theres not an infinitive in sight. Or it may be that he just forgot to say faithfully earlier, and was squeezing it in at the last exit before he went into the long noun phrase the Office of President of the United States. The phrasing Obama ultimately took was to go ahead and say the heavy noun phrase and put the adverb at the end:

I will execute the office of President of the United States faithfully

That works, too, but the Constitutions wording is the best. I hear the commentators now observing that Roberts messed it up regarding the oath of office. What do you think? Does variation in adverb placement count as messing it up if youre saying an oath of office?

I also noticed at the end that Roberts said, So help you God and Obama dutifully changed the you to me. Now I cant remember what the usual way of doing this is. Does someone out there more used to hearing (or administering) oaths than I am know if the administrator says so help you God or so help me God?

And on Obamas subsequent speech: Way to go! I, too, reject as false the claim that we have to choose between our nations security and its ideals. And even if it were true, choosing security is the wrong choice.

http://literalminded.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/faithfull... /

Noam Chomsky ought to be able to straighten out both the meaning and the intent of Roberts on this one.
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
28. I thought it was purposeful
he is such a repuke.
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cooolandrew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
30. That's very true actually if anyone should get it right it should be a Justice. I think a re-do>
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 11:47 AM by cooolandrew
would make me more at ease I wouldn't want them milking this one.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
32. Right-wingers are deaf and blind to irony, alas. nt
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