I doubt if there is anyone left who either hadn’t seen or heard about the stumble that happened during the swearing in of President Obama. There have been a number of comments about it, ranging from simple amusement and understanding of the jitters to scathing criticism of Justice Roberts for messing up a historic moment. Upon witnessing the missteps, I also expressed disappointment at this unfortunate gaff. This was truly a once in a lifetime moment, and it should have been meaningful for all the right reasons. If there is one thing that can be learned from this incident, it is this: we all make mistakes.
I doubt if there is anyone more upset about this than Justice Roberts. Supreme Court justices don’t come out into the light of day for public events all that much and now he’ll forever be remembered for this mistake. I feel badly for him, and am especially impressed with President Obama for his easy manner and apparent understanding of the situation. It’s too bad things weren’t handled more smoothly, and unfortunately Roberts will have to deal with this humiliation for a long time. No doubt he has done a multitude of things well and is obviously a qualified judge to sit on the bench. Having the fumbling of the oath of office played over and over again might have an affect on his public image.
As pastor, I can relate a little bit to the pressure Roberts felt standing before Obama and millions of people. Of course, standing before a congregation for a funeral, wedding, or sermon can’t compare to the masses in Washington D.C. last Tuesday. But, pastors and ministers deal with ceremony and special events regularly and the opportunity to mess up is real. I feel badly for Roberts, his mistake was broadcast to the whole world. The truth is we all make mistakes, and I appreciate Obama’s willingness to offer understanding to Roberts after the judge apologized for it.