When did Obama get Presidential authority?
This is not an idle question. The media are all saying he was president at noon, even before he took the Oath. But that’s not my reading of the Constitution, at least in terms of authority. But I have no real training in these matters. Can someone sort this out for me?
Here are the relevant bits, I think.
Article II, Section 1 says
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.”
Amendment XX, Section 1 says
The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January….of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
So that means he was president at noon, but had no authority to execute his office? What if something had happened in those few minutes between noon and when he took the Oath? Presumably the Vice President had constitutional authority, since he had been sworn in. Help, dear readers?