I Like Pie wrote:
You're missing my point entirely. I agree with you on this. You're arguing the same point to me that I'm trying to argue to Xeno via the "ambiguity spiral" example.
You could cay that there's no point in analyzing the constitution for any ambiguities because any such analysis would lead to an 'ambiguity spiral'; rendering the supreme court redundant; leaving the state / shadow lizard government / anyone in the know to take advantage of constitutional ambiguities into perpetuity.
The question is which constitutional ambiguities should be remedied - those dealing with the most important issues to the Republic should be regarded 'strictly'. And so the word 'then' in the 20th amendment, I think should be regarded to mean 'noon' rather than 'soon'.
Personally, I think the peaceful transference of power is so central to ensuring the survival of the Republic that any constitutional ambiguities pertaining to the transference of power ought to be clarified according to a 'strict interpretation', and thus martial law would not need to be imposed.
Both the letter and spirit of the constitution seem to me to indicate that the oath of office must be completed properly before noon for the term of the incumbent POTUS to begin at noon.
The spirit of the law might in stipulating so strictly the time when the term should begin might be due to an example when say an incumbent showed up on time but couldn't complete taking the oath properly because he was too drunk / hungover; perhaps there'd been another case when an incumbent POTUS had been drugged or poisoned, and messed up the words during the oath because the incumbent POTUS's judgement was impaired. In such a compromised state of mind, an incumbent POTUS wouldn't be able to make the decision to take on the responsibility which the solemn oath of office implied, let alone execute the office of the president with sound judgement; therefore, think the framers were intentionally strict about the language of the oath for a reason; that any indication of the incumbent POTUS's judgement being impaired at the time of taking the oath would nullify the legitimacy of his taking the solemn oath.
Likewise, perhaps the framers thought that if the incumbent POTUS can't complete the oath on time (and that is 'before noon' on inauguration day), regardless of the reason (be it merely by the weather or a coup), martial law should be implemented until such time that the incumbent president finishes the oath.
I've been looking into rules of martial law, and wonder if it even has to be declared publicly. Could a state clandestinely declare martial law?
Martial law is the imposition of the highest-ranking military officer as the military governor or as the head of the government, thus removing all power from the previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. It is usually imposed temporarily when the government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services).
Such martial law should be imposed at noon on inauguration day if the incumbent president, regardless of the reason, does not complete the oath of office PROPERLY by NOON on inauguration day, because not taking the oath properly by noon on inauguration day is an indication that 'the government or civilian authorities have failed to function effectively', or has failed to provided the 'security' necessary for the incumbent POTUS to complete the oath before noon.
To avoid the automatic imposition of martial law due to reasons that do not represent a clear and present threat to the peaceful transference of power (such as the motorcade being rerouted and thus delayed due to weather or protestors or some other other minor security concern) and it becomes clear (or probable) that the incumbent president will not be able to make it to the inauguration ceremony on time to complete the oath at the ceremony BEFORE noon, the incumbent POTUS could take the oath of office enroute to the inauguration ceremony (as long as his doing so is appropriately witnessed) and then redo the oath for sake of purely ceremonial reasons; in this case, due to the oath being completed before arriving at the ceremony, that the oath was completed late during the ceremony would be irrelevant.