The US presidential inauguration is just in a few hours and there are so many on-going preparations. The words said by George Washington, when he took the oath on April 30, 1789, have become a standard for every president of the United States.
The inauguration ceremony is always marked by the recitation of the oath. Robert Livingston, the chancellor of State of New York prompted Washington to say the words then and ever since then, it became a part of the inauguration ceremony.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Find below some interesting facts you need to know about the US presidential oath of office:
1. It is administered in accordance to the US constitution
The oath taken by the US presidents is set and administered in accordance with Article II in Section I of the US constitution. This section requires that the president-elect shall take the oath before he takes on the execution of his office.
2. The oath is administered by the chief justice of the United States
The constitution does not set who should administer the oath to the president but it is typically done by the Chief Justice of the United States. The constitutional law experts affirm that the oath may be administered by an official of the lower federal court or the judge himself.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president was sworn in by his father who was a justice of the peace and notary public in Vermont. He is the only president to be sworn in by anyone other than a judge.
US District Court judge, Sarah T. Hughes, was the first woman to administer the oath when she swore in Lyndon B. Johnson while inside Air Force One in Dallas, texas. That was a few hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
3. There are two forms of administering the oath
There are two ways of administering the oath; the first form is hardly used now. It involves the person administering the oath to ask in the form of a question. "Do you (name of the president) solemnly swear or affirm that 'you' will..."
However, this form of administering the oath has been replaced by the modern form which entails the incoming president repeating it in verbatim like "I, (president's name) do solemnly 'swear' or 'affirm' that 'I' will..."
4. Use of holy books
Even though the 'establishment clause' separates the church from the state, incoming presidents treaditionally take the oath of office while raising their right hands and placing the left hands on the Bible or any other holy book that is significant to the religion of the incoming presidents.
John Quincy Adams held a law book in hand in order to show his intention of using the terms of the constitution to rule. President Theodore Roosevelt also did not use a Bible while taking the oath in 1991.
George Washington kissed the Bible he held while taking the oath and this became customary for the other presidents. Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to be a little different, he said a prayer while holding the Bible.
5. The vice president get sworn in before the president
Traditionally, the vice president's oath is being administered by the chief justice on the inauguration day on the floor of the senate.
This event takes place shortly before the president-elect is sworn in. This means that the vice president assumes office even before the president.
6. The vice president's oath is different from that of the president
With the present federal law, the oath recited by the vice president is different from that of the president. The words mustered by the vice president during the swearing in is as follows:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."
The constitution does not specify the oath taken by the vice president and other officials. The words of the oath are not specified too.