After Hours

Geek Trivia: The quibble of the week for Jan. 20, 2009

This week's quibble comes from the Jan. 13, 2009 edition of Geek Trivia, "Swear words of wisdom." TechRepublic member kimnanney quibbled with The Trivia Geek's description of the man who first swore George Washington into office as President of the United States -- specifically, that he described the man as a judge.

If you uncover a questionable fact or debatable aspect of this week's Geek Trivia, just post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly will choose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discuss it in a future edition of Geek Trivia.

This week's quibble comes from the Jan. 13, 2009 edition of Geek Trivia, "Swear words of wisdom." TechRepublic member kimnanney, quibbled with my description of the man who first swore George Washington into office as President of the United States — specifically, that I described the man as a judge:

"Point of order: George Washington was sworn in by Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State of New York at the time. The Chancellor position, while judicial in nature, did not require that a judge hold the position. Mr. Livingston was a lawyer, but not a judge. Therefore, we think there are two instances where a US President was not sworn in by a judge. Nitpicky? Perhaps."

Well, whether someone is called a judge or performs the duties of a judge are technically separate issues; it's my understanding that Mr. Livingston did the latter, even if he didn't qualify as the former. The Chancellor of New York was the colonial precursor to the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, which is almost certainly a judicial position. Thus, while he may not have been called a judge, he almost certainly acted as one. I'll leave it to the reader as to whether my description of Livingston was flawed.

Thanks for the quibble, and keep them coming!

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About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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