Gov. Jan Brewer won’t have a do-over for her swearing in, the way that Barack Obama did.
The oath administered to the new governor Wednesday was not garbled, as happened when the new president was sworn in the day before by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
But Brewer, taking the oath from Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor, swore with her left hand raised and her right hand on the family Bible, the reverse of what at least is tradition.
The text of the oath is spelled out in state law, including a requirement to swear to it with either the traditional “so help me God” or the alternative “so I do affirm.” But there is nothing in law that spells out how the oath is to be administered, and no mention of a Bible or other holy book.
But gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said Friday that even if Brewer raised the wrong hand, it is immaterial: She formally became the governor at 4:52 p.m. on Tuesday when Janet Napolitano submitted her letter of resignation.
That, however, may not be the case.
The Arizona Constitution specifically says that whoever is next in line for governor after the incumbent quits, dies or is thrown out of office only gets all the “emoluments, powers and duties of governor upon taking the oath of office.” Brewer did not take that oath — with her left hand — until shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Even if that is the case, anything Brewer did before then still is valid: The Secretary of State automatically is the acting governor whenever the elected governor is out of the state.
Obama retook the oath Wednesday after Roberts botched the words to the formal oath, spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, and the new president repeated them. White House Counsel Greg Craig said the decision for a second take was done “out of an abundance of caution.”
The Washington Post contributed to this report.