All presidents swear to uphold the Constitution when they take the oath of office, but John Nichols is pleased that Obama went further than that in his inaugural address today, he writes for the Nation. Invoking Ben Franklin, Obama rejected “as false the choice between our safety and ideals,” adding that generations of Americans have shed blood to protect "the rule of law and the rights of man." Those ideals won't be sacrificed "for expediency," he vowed, setting a tone of Constitutional respect that has been sorely missing for the last 8 years.
“Obama has impressed and disappointed when it comes to Constitutional issues,” Nichols writes, and there will surely be disappointments to come. But for now, “We can and should hope that Obama's reference to the rule of law suggests a determination far greater than that of his predecessor to abide by the oath he has taken this day.”