Friday, January 23, 2009


Supreme Court:
O.K. Here’s the situation. We’re about to swear in a new president, but he’s not white.

Supreme Court Aide:
But, sir, Justice is supposed to be blind.

Supreme Court:
Yes, but NOT color-blind.

Supreme Court Aide:
What are your plans?

Supreme Court:
We’re asking Justice Roberts to screw with…I mean screw up the oath when he swears in Mr. Obama.

Supreme Court Aide: Is it legal?

Supreme Court:
Legal-Schmegal…who cares. We can’t have a colored messiah-man at the helm.

Supreme Court Aide:
But what if Obama just has the oath administered again?

Supreme Court:
We hope he doesn’t, but we’ll make sure that a Bible isn’t there this time. Using Lincoln’s Bible was an outrage.

Supreme Court Justice:
O.K. I’ll get your robes cleaned and pressed for the inauguration.

Supreme Court:
Yes. And put in plenty of starch. We want to appear upright and starched.


"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."

There was a false start by Obama, who started to respond before Roberts had completed the first phrase. Obama ended up saying the first two words---“I, Barack”---twice.

Then there was an awkward pause after Roberts prompted Obama with these words: “That I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.” The chief justice seemed to say “to” rather than “of,” but that was not the main problem. The main problem was that the word “faithfully” had floated upstream in the constitutional text, which actually says this: “That I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.”

Obama seemed to realize this, pausing quizzically after saying, “that I will execute.”

Roberts gave it another try, getting closer but still not quite right with this: “Faithfully the office of president of the United States.” He omitted the word “execute.”

Obama now repeated Roberts' initial error of putting “faithfully” at the end. Starting where he had abruptly paused, he said, “The office of president of the United States faithfully.”


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