Inauguration – January 20th

harrison_inaug
Presidential inauguration of William H. Harrison – March 4, 1841

Are there actual laws that control the activities of the US presidential inauguration?

The US Constitution has language:

AMENDMENT XX

Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.

 (Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment. )

Article I, Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

and also stated in the Constitution:

Article. II, Section. 1.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“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.”

How serious does the county take the language of the oath as put forth in the Constitution?  In 2009, President Obama retook the oath of office the following day because of some false steps during the formal ceremony.

Sources:

Some other interesting resources

The Library of Congress has organized information of the history of presidential inaugurations;

What will this inauguration divine?

Oakland, CA,  resident, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, gave her  perspective recently on KQED on the etymology of the word “inauguration” discussing its origin in  ancient history when augurs or “diviner of birds” were consulted before any major action was undertaken.

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