When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and President-elect Barack Obama flubbed the oath of office on inauguration day, WND was pilloried for prominently noting the problem.
“Oh, come on,” wrote one emailer. “This is just being nitpicky. Your antipathy for Obama is showing in your willingness to jump on him for everything.”
Yet, one day later, Roberts and Obama agreed to repeat the oath of office – this time in a more private setting and following the specific requirements of the U.S. Constitution.
Maybe paying strict attention to the Constitution isn’t nitpicky after all?
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution stipulates the exact 35 words of a proper oath of office: “I 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.”
Since some of those words were transposed and left out of the original oath on the day of inauguration, Roberts feared the matter could become a point of contention. Twice before in American history presidents Chester A. Arthur and Calvin Coolidge needed to repeat their oaths because of similar mistakes.
I’m glad someone still takes at least part of the Constitution seriously. Unfortunately, another part of Article II, Section 1 was completely trampled upon during the 2008 election process and right up through the swearing in ceremony. That is the issue of whether Obama is indeed, as the Constitution requires, a “natural born citizen.” Perhaps he is, perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps we’ll never know, because no controlling legal authority has ever required proof and publicly affirmed its validity.
Again, when such issues were raised, many have suggested it’s simply nitpicking.
But the Constitution either means precisely what it says or it doesn’t. If we’re going to fudge on such simple, straightforward matters as eligibility requirements for the president and oaths of office, where does the fudging end?
And, conversely, if it is so critically important to recite the specific and exact 35 words of the oath of office as delineated in the Constitution, why was it not important to establish Obama’s eligibility beyond any shadow of a doubt?
Should this matter now be dropped?
Or should it be relentlessly pursued?
What would happen now if it were determined that Obama was not, in fact, constitutionally eligible to become president? It’s certainly not a simple matter like restating the oath.
On the other hand, because of the enormous potential for raising a constitutional crisis, should the American people just sweep the matter under the rug?
These are the tough questions we have been left with by Obama and all those in authority who allowed this question of eligibility to fester for so long.
Once again, they provide us with some practical arguments for taking the Constitution seriously and literally in all matters. The Constitution is the bedrock of our system of governance. It is the tie that binds our nation together. It is the foundation for the rule of law in America.
There is nothing frivolous about its requirements.
There is nothing nitpicky about adhering to them.
So, I’ll ask the pointed question one more time: “Where’s the birth certificate?”
Where’s the proof Barack Obama was born in the U.S. or that he fulfills the “natural-born American” clause in the Constitution? If you still want to see it, join more than 200,000 others and sign the petition demanding proof of eligibility now!
Maybe we need a national movement of people asking the same question in venue after venue – anywhere and everywhere the new president appears. Maybe we need rallies on the National Mall where ordinary Americans bring copies of their birth certificates and display them proudly with accompanying signs that say: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
Do we need a national uprising of the American people simply to get the Constitution observed and taken seriously and literally?
It seems like a lot to ask.
Yet, on the other hand, is there a more important national cause?