Friday, November 7, 2008

The Office of the President Elect?

Normally we're all for getting a jump on things, but this is a bit much. Barack Obama has apparently created the "Office of the Presidential Elect" and is conducting business as though he were already sitting in the Oval Office. Mind you, no governmental organization has ever officially established or recognized an office of the president-elect.

President-elect Obama would be wise to remember he has not yet taken the oath of office and until the time that he does, has no official power to perform any of the duties or responsibilities that fall to the office of the President of the United States. Whether Obama likes it or not, President Bush is still the leader of this nation and Mr. Obama should show him the respect he rightfully deserves.

Not to nitpick, but "President-Elect" is a hyphenated word, yet we noticed the hyphen is conveniently absent from his little podium signage. We're guessing that was no accident.

8 comments:

Doc said...

"President-elect Obama would be wise to remember he has not yet taken the oath of office and until the time that he does, has no official power to perform any of the duties or responsibilities that fall to the office of the President of the United States."

Actually, that's one of those well-known "facts" that is completely untrue:

At 12:00 PM, EDT, on January 20th, 2009, the orderly tranfer of Presidential office will occur, oath of office or no.

President-elect Obama could skip the whole ceremony, take the family bowling should he wish, and he would still be President at that time, on that day.

As to his setting up an office, given the dire circumstances the departing occupant of the office has left the country facing, it's a dmaned good idea.

Nice to see an adult in chatge for a change...

"The D" said...

So what do you expect him to do for 70 some odd days, before he "offically" takes over? Sit around with his thumb up his ass like Bush has done for 4 years?

James said...

I expect him to hire his staff, etc. Not to create a faux office and start performing the duties and responbilities of the current sitting president.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Doc is full of shit.

The office of president, like any other high office in the government, is not self-executing. A president-elect does not become president until he actually takes the oath, which constitutes the formal bestowing and acceptance of the office. If Obama decided to simply blow off the inauguration and "take the family bowling" instead, he would still be a mere private citizen, not President of the United States.

While the preceding president's term expires at noon regardless, in the event the president-elect failed to take the oath at the appointed time, a constitutional crisis would ensue in which the next in the line of succession would serve as acting president until such time as the oath could be administered to the president-elect.

Doc should have paid more attention during civics and should stop trying to peddle his ignorance of the Constitution as "insight."

James said...

I went ahead and looked up the oath issue. It's a dispute I had not heard before.

Article II, Section 1 ends with the following:

"Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"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.""

Which would seem to indicate the oath is a necessity to execute the powers of the office the president.

The twentiech amendment does not appear to make any changes to this requirement.

However, based on the current state of Berg v Obama, my guess is Obama could serve with out taking the oath because the constitution doesn't specify what to do if he doesn't. The very same justification the court has used for not requiring him to prove citizenship and what his own legal defense argued for as reason for dismissal.

I guess we learn something knew every day.

Ed said...

Ya gotta love the Bush-bashers like doc and d. Bush is stupid, dumb, ignorant, and a whole plethora of wordage that drunken sailors use.

Nobody thinks Bush will even rank in the top 25 presidents, but you got to admit he did one thing that really pissed of the liberals (hence the need to really bash Bush for everything including their own self-made problems) was the fact that Bush got conservative judges on SCOTUS.

Iraq war? Makes Dems mad. Economy? Libs go crazy. But what really, really makes their blood boil and turn demonic is the appointment of the judges he did to SCOTUS.

Why? Because it's something that continues beyond his administration and will be a thorn in their side for years to come.

And now for something completely different...

Anonymous said...

i saw many liberal blogs saying they've never heard of the office of the pres-elect either.

interesting...

Anonymous said...

"Article II, Section 1 ends with the following:

"Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"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.""

Which would seem to indicate the oath is a necessity to execute the powers of the office the president...

However, based on the current state of Berg v Obama, my guess is Obama could serve with out taking the oath because the constitution doesn't specify what to do if he doesn't."


As you quoted above, Article II, Section 1 makes clear that the oath is required before someone may execute the office of the president. That should come as no surprise to anyone. For the same reason that a person unwillingly elected to the presidency would not be forced into office automatically on January 20 despite declining to take the oath, a president-elect willing to serve but for whatever reason fails to take oath would not magically transform into the president at 12:01.

In this sense, the election and the oath of office could be analogized to the contract law principles of offer and acceptance, respectively. Getting elected is nothing more than the people of the United States offering the job of president to the winning candidate. Taking the oath of office is what constitutes acceptance on the part of the president-elect.

As to the Constitution's silence about who would become president if the president-elect failed to take the oath, that just means that there would be a "constitutional crisis" that would have to be straightened out by the courts and/or Congress, and is not suggestive that the oath requirement can be waived. In such a circumstance, the almost certain outcome would be that the VP (assuming he did take the oath) would, under the presidential line of succession, become acting president until such time as the president-elect swore the oath. If, however, the president-elect altogether renounced the office, the VP would become THE president.