[JURIST] Delivering his inaugural address [text] Tuesday in Washington DC shortly after taking the oath of office [text] as the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama [official website] insisted that his administration would pursue US national interests without sacrificing basic legal principles enshrined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Taking an apparent swipe at some of the policies of outgoing president George W. Bush, Obama declared:
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.Obama has pledged to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], and an executive order accomplishing that on a timetable yet to be determined is expected [JURIST report] later this week. Several of Obama's top advisers have also been quoted in press reports as saying he will issue another order specifically banning the use of torture [CNN report] as an instrument of US anti-terror policy.