Obama gave his first press conference as President-elect last Saturday. Pundits have noted his humor in responding to the urgent canine matter, but I was struck by a particular phrase used in response to a question regarding whether he’d be moving quickly to fill key cabinet positions:
When we have an announcement about cabinet appointments, we will make them. There is no doubt that I think people want to know who’s going to make up our team.
And I want to move with all deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize “deliberate” as well as “haste.” I’m proud of the choice I made of vice president, partly because we did it right. I’m proud of the choice of chief of staff, because we thought it through.
The emphasized portion is a variation of Earl Warren’s “with all deliberate speed“, as used in the Supreme Court decree implementing their Brown v. Board opinion. Whether Obama used such similar language simply because it evoked a sense of thoughtful urgency and as a constitutional scholar the words would come easily to him, or whether he wanted to subtly signal a soon-to-be renewed White House interest in civil rights is impossible to know. Either way, it was a refreshing hint of erudition.
(I promise not to obsess over every move made by our new Harvard Law Overlord. I offer my silence on the matter of the Sox cap as an example of my forebearance.)